Thursday, September 09, 2010

Put Up Or...

Fall is in the air!

Ok, not really. It's still too hot for this Alaskan Girl.

But the plants are coming to the end of the growing season and soon it will be time to put the pot garden to bed.

I harvested about half of my basil this weekend.


The oregano is still going strong, so I'll keep cutting that for as long as I can. I usually just let the pot stay outside in the winter all year long since oregano comes up every year.

I know my coolest sister in law asked me how I dried my herb.

It's easy, I tie some kitchen cotton around it and hang it up to dry.


When it's dry in a week or two, I'll strip the leaves off the stems and stick the oregano or basil in the proper baby food jar I keep my home grown stash in.


I also have some bitchin' catnip that I've grown this year. That goes in a plastic baggie.

This past long weekend I also made apple butter from the two and a half gallon bags I had on hand of apple cores and peels I had left over from making applesauce.


Just dump it into a pot, add some apple cider and simmer it until you get a disgusting apple slurry that looks like someone vomited up on your stove.


Now you can either put your apple vomit through a food mill to separate the skins and seeds from the good stuff or you can do what I do and push the vomit through a strainer.


It's hard work with not a great yield, but apple butter is SO delish, it's worth the time!

Put your skinned and seeded apple vomit, which now looks like apple velvet, back into your pot (I rinse out the pot to prevent any stray seeds/skins getting in there) and add your spices.


I like to add about a teaspoon of allspice, ground cloves and cinnamon to my apple butter.


Pay no attention to the fact it's been over three years since I've set foot in a Kroger store.

Before you start simmering the apple butter, this is where I like to wash out my jars and set them aside on a clean towel to dry.


Now, for the hard part, you have to simmer and constantly stir (to prevent scorching) the apple butter for anywhere from an hour to two hours.

I keep a clean plate around to "test" the butter with.

What you do to see if the apple butter is done is dab a bit on your plate and see how much of a liquid ring you get around the butter.

Here you can see it's pretty darn close to being done. There's still a bit of a ring.


Right before you are ready to ladle your butter into your jars, dip your jars into your hot water to sterilize them and bring them to the same temperature as your apple butter.

Fill your jars leaving 1/4" to 1/2" of space to the lid, wipe down the rims of the jars with a damp towel, toss on the lids, and put in the water bath for 20 minute.


For all those hours of work, I got only 5 pints of apple butter.


But so worth it! YUM!



Blogger knottygnome said...

i love apple butter but that seems like way too much work!

9:10 AM  
Blogger Crafty Christina said...

It sounds delicious, but I've never had it.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Yeah, but you used up the parts of the apple that would have been either compost or trash for most people. I'm impressed!

After we make our applesauce this year and have all of those cores and peels left, I think I'll make some applebutter. My great-aunt used to make applebutter and it was to die for!.

4:40 PM  
Blogger janna said...

Yum! Apple butter!

How big was your pot of basil? I grew some last summer, but felt like I would have needed a field to grow enough for a batch of pesto, which is what I wanted it for.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL! I am just finishing a search for apple crisp! I got drafted at work to use up the leftover apples from stroy time! Plus one of the girls brought in crabapples and I am going to make apple sauce out of them! Love, Mom

6:15 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Apple butter looks delicious!! Thanks for the info on drying the basil. Sounds much better than freezing it, it gets watery.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Basil and oregano - yum! I've never had apple butter either, but it looks pretty tasty! You're turning into a regular Martha Stewart!

9:36 PM  
Blogger Coco, not as in Chanel :) said...

Use the crock pot method. That is how I make mine. You do not have to stand over just have to stir every now and then. I added twice the amount of spices in mine too to make it a very dark brown. Mmmm, want to make more of it this winter. :)

4:35 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

I want to try this one day and haven't yet b/c the effort totally intimidated me. But if it's worth it maybe this will be the year to try it!

6:12 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

It looks good and I can just smell the spices but I don't like apple butter. My dad loves it and we had it frequently as a kid. Applesauce I love and apple cider is a favorite but apple butter. Not so much.

I'm itching to make an apple pie and now that the weather is cooler, it feels like a good time.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Nik Budnik said...

So uh how bout you send your coolest sister in law some dried herbage?? )

9:29 PM  
Blogger DPUTiger said...

I have a totally black thumb, but I'd love to attempt growing basil one of these years. I love pesto. And I'm never completely sold on the apple butter idea. What do you USE it for? (pardon the ignorant question. I'm really ignorant about some of these things)

9:56 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Reminds me of canning tomatoes with my mom. What a boatload of work that was!

6:01 PM  
Blogger weezalana said...

I would LOVE apple butter, but I don't know that I could commit to that much work! And now that you've called it vomit, I'm know I won't be able to...

12:58 AM  

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