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The past 2 Falls, my boys have gone with their dad to their uncle Chet’s house to press fresh apple cider.
It is fast becoming a fun tradition around our household. Even though my boys are little it holds such fond memories for them. They were so excited to be able to go again this year.
It’s just a super, duper fall memory that we are adding into our back pack of life!
They even made 6 gallons to take to their ‘Jam-ma’ and Pom-pa’ in Ohio. And yeah we get to go there this week. There are some really great perks to my husband having to travel with his job! One being he will be only 2 hours away from my parents place and decided that we could all go since he has 3 days of meetings. Yeah, lucky us! We get to celebrate CJ’s 4th birthday there and Camden is so distraught that we never get to celebrate his birthday in Ohio. Kids and their wide-eye wonder and anticipation really keep me young at heart!!
Happy Day To You!!
We did an experiment this past weekend. We made 2 crock pots of apple butter. One with homemade apple sauce that was no longer pretty (I tried to can apple sauce with too little sugar in it, I think) and the other with fresh quartered apples. My favorite was the one with fresh quartered apples. I am sure it was in part though to the fact that it had more sugar in it while it was cooking down. Who doesn’t like sugar now?
As my kids and hubbs sat around the table Saturday afternoon eating warm apple butter straight out of the crock pot on homemade bread that magically appeared from the freezer, my middle child said, “Mom, I like fall-aday (I think that’s fall and Saturday in the same word) can we have this all the time?” Why, yes son I would love to make fresh warm apple butter for you every fall if that is one of those ‘sweet memories’ you will take with you in your back pack of life. He’s also the same son who at 3 years old loves fresh baked pumpkin pie. I have no idea how that became a favorite because I don’t make pie very often but son of mine I am happy to oblige!
Side note: you might like apple butter on homemade bread with a slice of cheese on top. That’s how my hubbs likes it. 🙂
The beauty in both of these recipes is you can adjust it to the items you have on hand
We used 17 apples 🙂 half small (don’t know what kind they were) and half large yellow delicious, because that’s what we had on hand
2 cups of sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Cut up all the apples with the peelings on. Throw them into a large crock pot (if you don’t have a large one, cut the recipe in half) and add the above ingredients. Turn the crock pot on high with the lid off for 6 hours. Stirring occasionally. At the 6 hour mark, reduce the heat to low and place the lid on. When the apples have completely cooked down and have this nice golden brown color you are ready to blend your applesauce in the blender. It makes for a super smooth consistency so if apple butter should not be super smooth to you, you will probably not like this recipe but you have options. :-). I blended my apples while they were still piping hot, rinsed my pint jars in hot, hot water, heated up canning lids and then filled the jars with the steamy hot apple butter. Sealed them up tight and turned them upside down and with out even realizing it, I had just canned apple butter. I didn’t start out thinking I would can some, I had thought that I would make it to give away as gifts this fall but then canned apple butter down in my pantry is such a pretty thing. So glad I did it that way! Yields: 6 pints.
Recipe # 2
2 quarts of applesauce (it was lightly sweetened when I canned it but not very sweet 🙂
1 cup sugar
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
Place in crock pot on high for 3 hours, with lid off. Reduce heat to low and place lid on.
Add the 3 hour mark add:
2 cinnamon sticks, broken up
1 tsp whole cloves
Place these into a coffee filter or cheesecloth, tie it up with some thread and throw into the apple sauce mixture. You don’t have to place it in a coffee filter but it is so much easier to clean up if it’s in a filter (you will have to fish out all those little cloves and they are hard to see).
Just let the yummy goodness, simmer away. Stir frequently only if you want the smells to warft thru your house :-). You can’t help yourself, there is something about smelling that yummi-ness that makes you want to stir it often. Your apple butter is ready when it’s a deep, rich, thick brown. You can also can it using the same above method I just wrote about. This yields 4 pints. Side note: you may want to add more sugar. I was trying to do one without using too much sugar. I like it but I am not going to lie, the above recipe that has 2 cups of sugar in it is super yummy!
So if your wanting to bring some yummy fall goodness to your table this weekend……why not try some apple butter.
Making my own yogurt has been a long process in coming. I know how to do it, my mother would occassionally do it while we were growing up BUT the problem is I don’t so much care for yogurt. Odd. I know but that’s just how it is. My son on the other hand thinks that Stonyfields Organic strawberry yogurt is great for breakfast, lunch and all snacks! That’s all ok if I can get enough coupons that double or triple in a month’s time but sometimes it doesn’t work out so well.
Recently a fine lady in my church (who I have been talking to about buying into her cow share so that I could get grass-fed, raw jersey milk from) said, “I can’t believe you don’t make your own yogurt” to which I replied, “I can’t believe I don’t either however it just feels like a bridge too far for me right now”. But after tallying up how many quarts of that same said brand of yogurt we bought in July I decided that it was time I start making my own. We purchased 12 quarts that month. That was excessive but it can range from 6-12 months and the thing that really bothers me most about that said yogurt is that it is lowfat. For real, my growing children need whole milk yogurt. All that cream and fat is soooo good for their developing brains.
So after counting the cost and realizing that I could actually afford to buy into the cow share and make my raw grass fed, non GMO, organic whole yogurt for less money then the above said yogurt I was in.
The problem is that I am still convincing my son that the switch was a good one. So any pointers any of you have about how you make your yogurt taste oh so yummy….I would be so delighted to hear about it! I have been pureeing red raspberries and straining the seeds. I have also tried to sweeten it with only stevia. I think that’s the real problem but I am not ready to conceede yet. I have sweetened it with maple syrup and honey. I have added 1 tbsp of unflavored gelatin right after I poured it into the glass jars so that it would resemble a little thicker yogurt, like he’s accustomed to. They work but I can tell that Camden is still not convinced. I think I will compromise and put a couple of tablespoons of dye free jello in the next batch. I can get a natural gelatin from the bulk food store that is super close to my parents house. I usually stock up there. It is hard to find but I have found it at Whole Foods as well.
On to the recipe. There are many out there but this one has seemed to work very well for me. I have a friend who is convinced the only way to make it is using her crockpot. Maybe someday I will switch but for now this is the recipe that I love. Start with a beautiful gallon of milk like this. Just look at that cream on this gallon of milk. It makes me so happy!!
1 gallon of milk (any kind of milk will work)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt with live cultures (mine came from Trader Joe’s)
Pour milk into a large, heavy stockpot. Place a candy thermometer in the pan. Over medium heat, cook until milk reaches 180 degrees F, stirring occassionally. Do not allow milk to scorch. When it reaches 180 degrees F, remove from heat and immediately set stockpot into a sink of cold ice water (that you have prepared while the milk is heating up) and cool to 112 degrees F. Add Greek yogurt, stirring very well and make sure your culture is completely dissolved.
Pour yogurt into 4 clean quart jars. Cover with lids and place into an ice chest that has been filled with 2″-3″ of warm water. Set jars in the ice chest for approximately 6 hours. If it does not set to your liking, allow it to set 2 more hours. Note though: the longer you allow it to sit in the water bath, the stronger the yogurt gets. If you prefer a milder flavor, remove it promptly at 6 hours.
If you do not think you will use a whole gallon you can easily half this recipe and end up with 2 quarts of yogurt.
And here you have it. Fresh breakfast with homemade maple yogurt and a hot cup of coffee! I used maple syrup and maple flavoring to get the sweetness and flavor I was looking for. I must confess, I don’t know the amounts I put in to get the flavor I want. It’s how I cook all the time. Always adding a little here and a little there. Sometimes the little here and little there doesn’t turn out so good but yogurt is hard to mess up 🙂 and who cares if the ‘little here and the little there’ turns it into a nice sweet yogurt, aka, too much maple syrup?
Today I pick up 3 gallons of that lovely liquid gold. I hope to make 1 gallon into drinkable yogurt for the boys and make a gallon of nonfat greek/strained yogurt to use in cooking and for my THM breakfast’s. But first, I will skim off all that lovely cream which is actually a super food and savor those swirls in my morning coffee.
Hope your weekend is lovely!