Fall is here and thats means apples. Many of the apples grown west of the Cascades have scab or are infected with coddling moth. The result is that apples that aren’t very appetizing to eat out of hand, but still can be used to make great applesauce. You can also buy apples by the box at your local farmers’ market and these can be used straight or mixed with your homegrown apples. I like to talk with the grower and see what breeds they like to make into sauce. One of my favorite growers is Tonnemaker Family Orchard. They have great produce, good prices and often have seconds boxes that are lower priced and great for canning. Last week they suggested Gravenstein apples so I bought a box to mix with my own apples.
Here are directions on making your own applesauce:
Pick out apples that are free of mold and rot. They don’t need to be pretty but they should be wholesome.
Core your apples then cut them up into about one-inch chunks and cook them over a low heat until soft. Then put the mixture through a food mill to separate the skins from the fruit and turn it into a sauce.
Here is a food mill I got at Fred Meyer. They can also be found sometimes at Goodwill.
If the sauce is too tart then add in a bit of brown or white sugar. I like to put in some cinnamon as well. Heat the sauce, while stirring constantly, to boiling and boil for one minute and pour into sterile jars. Be careful because blobs of the hot sauce can leap out of the pot and give you a burn.
Here it is heating up with cinnamon added at the end of cooking. Once it begins to bubble it will be ready for the jars.
Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes and you’re good to go. Applesauce can be eaten as is or can be used in many recipes.
I like lots of cinnamon so often add even more before I eat my sauce. My family varies on their degree of cinnamon adoration so I go light when canning it.
Posted in Cooking | Tagged applesauce, making applesauce, using apples | 1 Comment »
Here is an old family pumpkin pie recipe from my husband’s aunt, Betsy Stapleton. She makes this for special events and it’s always a favorite. Besides it tasting good, I like that it doesn’t use evaporated milk.
Put in a frying pan:
- One large can of pumpkin puree
- One teaspoon ginger
- One teaspoon salt
- Two teaspoons cinnamon
- One pinch nutmeg
Cook, stirring frequently, until cooked down to four cups. Cool to room temperature.
Thick and delicious
Add to pumpkin mixture:
- Three well beaten eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- One rounded tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in half a cup of milk
- Three and a half cups of milk
Beat with a mixer until smooth. Pour into two large pie tins and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until set.
Ready for baking.
I wonder if I will get any pie this year?
Posted in Cooking | Tagged homemade, pumpkin pie | Leave a Comment »
If you’ve ever handled black walnuts you know how well they can dye your hands, countertop and many other things you may not want a deep brown color. Dark brown yarn is lovely.
Black walnuts ready to be harvested!
The first step is to carefully harvest your walnuts. I always use gloves to do this as the fruit is a bit caustic and even a little juice will stain your hands. Once you have the fruit put it in a bowl and pour boiling water over it. Mash it a bit with a fork and let it sit for about an hour. No mordant is needed.
Ready for the yarn.
Put the yarn in your dye bath and leave until a shade darker than desired is reached. Pull the yarn out and wash in clear water. Be careful to rinse out the dye that hasn’t fixed to the wool or it may stain your body or bleed on to other clothes.
This dye can be used for basket materials, cotton or wool.
Some of the brown yarns are black walnut dyed.
Posted in Crafts, Foraging | Tagged black walnut dye, dyeing with black walnut, natural plant dyeing | Leave a Comment »
Every urban farmer should have at least one bean necklace for that perfect agricultural fashion accent. Right now is a great time to harvest those end of the season beans and get crafting.
Pick your beans while they are still soft. These are scarlet runners.
Many colorful varieties can be used and you can do patterns with solid color beans.
Thread a darning needle with stiff thread or a flexible wire.
I like using pliers to pull the needle through the bean as it can get a little stuck at times.
Here are necklaces made with calico beans.
Wait to either tie the ends or attach fasteners as the beans will shrink as they dry. It’s also a good idea to string on a few extras; it’s easy to take them off if you have too many.
Posted in Crafts | Tagged dried bean necklaces, homemade necklaces | Leave a Comment »
I love this tool!!
Each year I just can’t resist getting a big box of apples this time of year.
It used to take me forever to carefully peel the apples, cut them up and remove the icky bits. Last spring I went to a rummage sale and a friend handed me a weird looking contraption. “This is exactly what you need” she said with conviction. I dutifully bought it, put it in the basement and forgot about it until this weekend.
The Peel Away is amazing! What was even better was that my daughter and husband both found it so intriguing that they helped me; within about an hour all the apples were processed.
Here is the loooong peel that comes off. I wonder if this is tossed over the shoulder it will still make the initial of the person one is going to marry?
Hope I toss an “A”.
Here is the apple peeled, cored and sliced.
Once the apple is processed making sauce or putting it in a pie is a snap! Tonight I am going to try it on asian pears….
Ready for a pie.
Posted in Cooking | Tagged apple corer, apple peeler, fruit processing | 2 Comments »
Growing garlic is very easy and is a great thing to plant if you have big summer plans that are going to keep you out of the garden.
Pick bulbs with big cloves.
There are softneck and hardneck varieties of garlic; the softneck grow best in a colder climate and are easy to braid. I usually do some of both. You can plant large cloves from last summer’s crop or you can get untreated organic garlic at the supermarket or farmer’s market.
Pull cloves apart.
Once you have your garlic clear out a bed, rake the soil and amend with a light dressing of compost. Divide the bulb into individual cloves and lay them out on the soil about 6 to 8 inches apart.
Lay out 6 to 8 inches apart.
Dig a hole, (I usually use a large spoon), about 2 inches deep and plant with the pointy end up. Cover with soil then mulch with straw or shredded leaves. Be sure to pull the mulch away from around the growing garlic in the spring or the darned slugs will actually chew on the stems.
Label clearly where you have planted as it’s easy to overplant.
Posted in Growing | Tagged garlic, planting garlic, winter crop | Leave a Comment »
What do all urban farmers in this brisk chilly climate need? Warm knit hats! It’s easy to make these using circular needles. I like to use number 8 needles and usually cast on about 95 stitches to start for an adult hat. Once the stitches are on I do a rib stitch with two knit to one purl stitch for about 8 to 10 rows; this will give the band some stretch.
A hat in process.
Now it’s time to use your creativity and go crazy with patterns and color using a knit stitch. Once you have 34 rows start decreasing to form the top of the hat. To decrease knit together two stitches every 10 stitches for one row then knit normally for the next.
As you get to the top of the hat knit stitches together every row then when there are a few stitches left use a darning needle to go through the remaining stitches and draw this tight. Now tuck in your yarn ends and you are all set!
Here are some different examples.
Posted in Crafts | Tagged hats, knitting | Leave a Comment »
Ready to go!
By Christina Carson
Christina Carson is FarmRaiser’s Chief Cultivator – managing our partnerships, communications, and leading our on the ground team of Campaign Coordinators. Having been a part of the business since the beginning, she’s passionate about sharing FarmRaiser’s story with with as many people as possible!
With the school year fully in gear, it’s that time of year when students start venturing door to door in hopes of selling a variety of goods to their friends and family in order to raise a little money for their schools. Frequently, those products are highly processed foods made in far off lands with little in the way of nutrition. Thankfully, Washington schools now have access to an incredible alternative that helps schools sell fresh produce and other healthy food items made right in their own community!
FarmRaiser is a school fundraising company with the goal of completely reinventing the industry. Out with the sea of sugar and junk food – in with CSA-esque seasonal veggie selections, fresh Washington apples, dried organic blueberries, locally roasted coffee, and other amazing whole food goods! In the process of selling local and healthy products, students involved in FarmRaiser campaigns learn about the importance of what goes into their body and where it comes from. All the while supporting the local economy and exposing quality local products to new potential customers. It really is a win for everyone involved!
These locally focused fundraisers have been around for about a year and a half, hosting campaigns in Michigan. They started working in Seattle last spring and are ready to help your group raise some much needed funds in a fun and educational way! Having partnered with over 30 schools and organizations thus far, 88% of which have come back for at least one additional fundraising campaign, the FarmRaiser team is looking forward to sharing their great work with more people.
If you, or someone you know might be interested in hosting a FarmRaiser for your school or community group (or selling their products in area fundraisers!), head on over to FarmRaiser’s website. Local Campaign Coordinator, Greg Meyer, can also be contacted directly by email (email@example.com) or phone (415.937.8942). I can be contacted at Christina@FarmRaiser.com or by calling 231.714.9712.
Posted in People on the Move | Tagged CSA, CSA for schools, fundraiser, school fundraiser | Leave a Comment »
Quince flavored tequila
With Elaine Corets
Have you ever eaten quince? Quince are in the Rosaceae family, as are apples and pears, and when ripe they are bright yellow and have a wonderful fragrance. This fruit is a bit unusual in that it must be cooked before it can be eaten; when raw the flavor is astringent and bitter but after cooking it is delectable.
In case you’re looking for some ideas of what to do with quince, here are some of Elaine’s favorite recipes:
If your interest is peaked and you want to try some of this wonderful fruit then you’re in luck! Local quince will be available for sale starting this week or next.
Elaine’s Dad, Ellis, with his quince tree.
Same deal as last year: Elaine will be selling from her home in Ballard, but she’s not sure yet know how much will be available. The price will be the same as last year: $4/lb. She’s also open to bartering, especially for cheese, eggs and/or honey. She’s sure there will be seconds, which will be sold at a discount.
Please get in touch if you would like to get on the waiting list. You can reach Elaine at: SeattleQuince@gmail.com.
Setting a pan of quince paste. This eaten with Manchego cheese is incredible.
Posted in Cooking | Tagged fall fruits, quince | Leave a Comment »
Farewell to summer!
With shorter days, cool winds and rainy weather it’s time to put part of my garden to bed for the winter. I am sad to let summer with its glorious brilliance go but the soil needs to rest and rebuild. I have a few plots planted with winter herbs and vegetables and will soon plant garlic and flower bulbs so not all gardening is done but the wild exuberance of summer is over.
Here’s my list of tasks:
- Write down in your garden journal what worked this year and what didn’t. Did you have a special type of snap pea that grew really well and tasted great? Was there a tomato that just didn’t live up to its vibrant name? Is there a neighbor who planted a kind of squash you’d just love to try? Write this all down or come next January when the seed catalogs start to awaken your garden lust they will be faded memories.
- Clean up the beds and remove the vegetation. If you have a super hot compost pile then you can compost your garden waste. If you don’t then it’s probably a good idea to put potato and tomato plants, weeds with seeds and so on in the clean green container to be hauled off. If you’ve had any kind of disease problem with your vegetables or fruit be sure to pick up and dispose of all fallen fruit and leaves. It’s also good to rotate your crops and not plant the same thing in the same spot each year.
- Bring in your garden tools, tomato cages and empty containers. Clean the soil off, sharpen tools and store inside so they will last longer. If you don’t have room inside then put them in an area where they will stay dry and out of the reach of animals. I oiled all my tools and handles one year with some old coconut oil and was really surprised in the spring to see that some animal had carefully gnawed off all the oil on the handles leaving pocked rough wood behind.
- Plant garlic and flower bulbs.
- Repot and bring inside any geraniums or other houseplants that have been out on summer break. You can pot up some herbs to bring in too; oregano, chives bay and sage usually do well inside.
- Test and amend your soil. If you do this now you will be all set for spring. I usually work some manure and compost into the top layers so they can break down over the winter.
- Plant a cover crop. A cover crop both protects your soil from punishing winter rains and builds up nutrients.
- Sit back, have a warm cup of tea and enjoy your neat and tidy garden.
Posted in Growing | Tagged cover cropping, overwintering your garden, putting garden to bed | Leave a Comment »