Canning, Recipes

A weekend of Applesauce

My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach this weekend. I went to our local market to buy apples for applesauce, and the price was so astonishingly great that I bought two bushels instead of one. Yay apples!

Apples_Bags

I spent all day Sunday (from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) making applesauce — with a little help from my older sister who was in town — and only got through one bushel. Considering it took seven hours, I don’t know when I’ll get to using the next bushel — hopefully one night this week. I think I’ll turn the remainder into apple butter. Yum!

Anyway, if you want to read about how I make applesauce or see one of the few videos I’ve made for A Smith of All Trades, check out my applesauce post from 2012. My dad, little sister and I have made applesauce each year for the past three years. After the first year and a limited supply of sauce, I started doing a batch with the family and a batch on my own. This weekend was my batch and I made 28 jars (24 quarts, 4 pints). Next weekend, the plan is to do it again with my dad. Double the help = half the production time!

Apples_Cans

In my 2012 post I shared a bunch of different add-ins for the applesauce. It is a family tradition to doctor the applesauce with things like vanilla, cinnamon red hots, brandy, candy canes — all sorts of stuff! This year, I added in fireball whisky. I’d never had it before, but our family friend suggested the cinnamon flavor would taste great in applesauce. Well, he was right. It might be my new favorite thing to add in!

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Recipes

100 Days of Real Food Cookbook review

Between bathroom renovations and power outages, I almost forgot to share a different kind of post for A Smith of All Trades — a book review!

I have been following 100 Days of Real Food for a few years now and the woman behind the blog, Lisa Leake, just published her first cookbook. Lisa’s blog is about cooking with real ingredients and cutting out processed foods. She has a ton of great recipes to share, as well as tips for cutting back on pre-packaged, over-processed foods. While I’m not 100% processed food free — I might not even be 50% — following her blog has been eye-opening for me as to the simple changes I can make to get rid of some, well, crap. Instead of buying frozen pizzas, we make our own from scratch. Box-mix cookies? A thing of the past. Bisquick for pancakes and biscuits — I can easily make my own. I even make our whipped cream instead of buying the canned stuff!

And you guys know I love to can some food from my garden veggies. And it is always yummier than if I buy it from a store. Real food = delicious food.

Some of our favorite meals have come from Lisa’s blog (The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot — it really is the best and we are actually having it for dinner tonight!), so when I had to opportunity to review her cookbook I couldn’t refuse. Turns out, this recipe is also in her book.

100 Days of Real Food cookbook

100 Days of Real Food is a beautiful cookbook. That might seem a strange thing to mention first instead of, say, the recipes. But it truly is beautiful. Every page has a photo, which is essential (in my opinion) to a good cookbook.

It also has all sorts of recipes (it is a cookbook after all), from simple to more complex. She also explains in great detail about transitioning to real food. I’ve read some of her tips on her blog, but just from flipping through it seems like there is a lot I haven’t seen yet. She has a whole section on tips to convince skeptics (ahem, my hubby) that real food is the way to go. I’ll definitely be reading that section.

I think I might be most excited for her recipes for kitchen staples like salad dressings, bbq sauce, tomato sauce (hello, new recipe to can!) — these are the things that I am so used to just buying from the store but that have sooo many added ingredients. I think having these recipes on hand will make replacing the over-processed versions much easier.

OK, enough of my rambling. Obviously I like it. Check it out!

Here’s a few of the pages from the book so you can see just how pretty it is and how yummy the recipes look.

Shortcut Eggplant Parm RecipeShortcut Eggplant Parm Photo

Veggie Corn Chowder recipe

Veggie Corn Chowder2

Frozen Yogurt Pops recipe

Frozen Yogurt Pops photo

My whole family has been getting into the real food lifestyle, so I know they are gonna want to borrow this one.

 

Next time you hear from me, I’ll be showing off our new bathroom 🙂 Hope you all have a great weekend!

I received a free copy of 100 Days of Real Food — all opinions are my own.

Canning, Recipes

Mulberry Jam

I saw a tree in our yard with berries on it when I was giving Brian his weekly tour of the garden. (He humors me and I love him for it). I was pretty excited when I noticed the berries — also surprised that I’d never noticed them before! So, even through Brian said they were probably poisonous, I did some research (thanks, Eddie!) and discovered they were mulberries.

Mulberry Tree

You can imagine my delight when I realized that 1. the berries weren’t poisonous and 2. I had even more fruit growing in my yard! I quickly tried one and they were delicious. Mulberries taste similar to blackberries, just a little less sweet and tart.

Mulberry

Over the course of the week I went out and picked the ripe berries (they turn black when they are ripe). When I had enough berries, I started searching for a recipe for jam. I found a recipe that called for berries, sugar and lemon juice (no pectin) from Claire K Creations. I didn’t have quite as many berries as the recipes called for, but was able to tweak the measurements to work.

Mulberries

First, I had to pull off the green stems. That only took half an hour haha. Then, I mashed them down a bit to release some of the berry juices.

Mulberries Cooking

Even though I didn’t have enough berries, I saw that Claire uses equal parts sugar to berries, so I weighed my berries on my food scale and then weighed out the same amount in sugar. Then, I followed Claire’s instructions. First, I brought the berries to a boil. Then, I added the sugar and lemon juice. I let everything come to a boil before reducing the heat and allowing the jam to thicken.

Mulberries boiling

When the jam was finished, I opted to put it in small mason jars, but not to can them. Truth is I ran out of the lids to seal the jars properly. So I popped all of the jam in the fridge to cool and thicken even more.

Mulberry Jam

I used 320 ML of berries and got three small mason jars and one 1-cup tupperware of jam. Not bad for berries I didn’t even know I had growing in my yard!

If you ever get the opportunity to make your own mulberry jam, not only is it super easy, it is also delicious. Make sure you check out Claire K’s Creations for other yummy recipes!