Friday, October 19, 2007
Apples, Apples Everywhere!
Apple season is fully here and I am taking advantage of it. Michigan has it’s many beautiful orchards and farms that supply us wonderful fresh apples this time of year. Last week we finally visited one of these orchards. Lined up in a machine shed were neat rows of different kinds of apples. It was a hard choice, but we came home with some Honeycrisp, Jonagold, and Macintosh, mostly Macintosh.
The day after our little trip to the orchard was spent in the kitchen preparing all those apples. Pies, applesauce, apple butter, apple tea and apple jelly are the results of lots of hard, but fun work. My dad especially appreciated all this as he is the apple fan of the family.
What really excited me about all this cooking though was how little waste! In the past when I did my apple cooking I would pull out my apple peeler/corer/slicer, run my apple through it and leave about as much scraps to throw away as I did apples to cook. So this year I decided to put all those peels and cores to work.
First thing they were going to make me was apple jelly. I have never made apple jelly before, I had heard about it but I am not the jelly maker so I never tried to make it. But feeling industrious and having one last box of pectin in the cabinet I took the plunge and looked up a recipe online. I found a few here and here. I used the later and found it very similar to other jelly recipes, you cook the apples down (about 30 minutes) and mash them through a sieve to make juice, then use the juice to make jelly. I’m afraid my jelly didn’t set up very firm, not that there is any fault in the recipe – I actually hope to try it again – but that my pectin was many years old. It is not going to waste though, the resulting syrup is wonderful on pancakes, in oatmeal and to sweeten apple tea.
Making apple jelly has led me to think of other ways to use apple scraps. You could make juice from the cores and peels, syrup from the juice, puree from the peels and also apple tea from dried peels. Although haven’t tried all these ways yet, except the tea, I think they would be wonderful ways of being frugal.
When we really try to be creative with the things we already have it is amazing how much we are blessed. Can you imagine, all those things I made from just six dollars worth of apples? Frugality isn’t just an idea, it is a frame of mind – creativity that can be used to bless our families.