Monday, October 6, 2014

Apples. Apples all the way down.

Windfall apples. Literally. 15 bushels.
You may have detected a theme, here at the homestead.  We spend the majority of our time working with, working on, and talking about things that we like.  Never forget that it is OK to surround yourself with work that you like, things that you like, food that you like, you know the IMPORTANT things, the things that make you feel good the things that make you feel the most YOU.

Like apples.  There are whole sections of the country where folks are no more than a short drive away from an apple orchard. Facebook is covered right now with people happily indulging in their fall tradition of an afternoon spent apple picking. They will spend a few hours there, pick a few apples, take a few home, pay top dollar for top quality and leave happy. I am not so easily satisfied. (continued)

Apples + Cinnamon + Heat 
Sunday we spent 5 minutes at the orchard and the rest of the day processing. I was an apple spattered sticky mess from the elbow down and giddy as a schoolboy. Inquiring about seconds, windfall apples, blems, or drops at your own local orchard you can find out if there are minimums you must take, costs, and availability.  For us a full tractor bucket load is no problem. Surplus apples could go directly into the compost if for some reason a livestock stomach detour wasn't an option (so far all the livestock stomachs have been happy to volunteer to take more).

As with peak picking season, now is the time to get the best looking, and tasting seconds too.  Only about 1 in 10 of the apples in my truck are badly bruised or otherwise damaged. At least half of them are bigger than my fist!  Big, tasty, cheap apples by the truckload.  I'm loving it.  We've run out of quart jars again, after putting up 24 quarts of applesauce Sunday night.  As problems go, I'll find a way to live with it.

Another trip to the store, and 6 more cases of jars brought in and the processing-palooza is back in full swing. Buying organic Applesauce at over $7 per 24 oz. jar adds up quickly,  Fudging the "over" 7 and ignoring the fact that 24 oz is way less than a quart, we can very quickly agree that 100 jars saves the homestead a lot of money.  That also means that in an afternoon of canning Mrs. Farmer and I "made" $170 by saving it.  We go through a lot of applesauce here, and I'm sorry to say that last year we only put up a token amount of homemade. I'd like to get 100 quarts into the pantry minimum and save us from having to buy more.

Now, that one (online) jar I'm using as an example is no doubt neither the cheapest price nor the best kind and I've openly admitted to some fudging of numbers for brevity.  If you're interested in a more in depth look at our cost per jar compared to your own local price for organic applesauce ask in comments. I'd be happy to discuss it at length.

Soon we'll hit the mark with applesauce and switch to jams, or jellies, maybe some apple butter. I've already got fruit leather in the oven and apple chips in the dehydrator.  All my brewing buckets are full, but it might be time to pick up a few more and get some cider or wine a-bubbling... and if we run out of apples before I run out of projects I think we might just need another load.

What is your favorite thing to do with fall apples? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I need to make apple sauce! Thank you for the reminder and a great blog.