Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crab Apples and Fall Gardens

So, so sorry folks!

September was a rough month with 3 consecutive illnesses, and October was catch up from all that should've been done in September.

In other news, I did get to pick those crab apples from the college kids next door.  To make, took all the stems off and washed them. Put them in my biggest stock pot, and covered them with water. 
 Then I boiled them. (I added water to keep them covered.) As they got soft, I would mash them until they looked like this mess. (I know, it doesn't look appetizing!)

 I then strained this through my cheese cloth. (Remember what I learned before? I bought a piece of good cheese making cheesecloth, and put it aside special for my fruit projects.)
The juice that came out was actually quite a bit. I was able to make 10 jars of jelly from it. (I have to admit, the color was a bit of a surprise to me!) This was only about a quarter way through. I had 2 full quarts of juice when done.

Recipe was simple, one cup of sugar to one cup of juice.  This recipe does NOT take any pectin (something I like to know JUST in case).

As I've done before, I decided to try to save the mush... ran it through the mill, and it made an excellent applesauce (never had crab apple sauce was nice and tart!) a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon/clove to taste (I say this without a recipe because it is so dependent on your personal tastes, and the crop of apples you use.)  It gave me 9 pint jars of sauce, so I can't complain.

So, in my continuing attempts to get more for less, after my tomatoes, cucumbers and string beans gave up the ghost in mid August,  I decided to try planting a fall garden.

Now. I made 2 mistakes right from the beginning. First, as I said, it was mid August. In Connecticut, where I live, that leaves a very short window for a fall garden. (It would've been better had I planted the first week in August.)  Second, I planted seeds instead of seedlings.

The crops I tried were mustard greens, bok choy, swiss chard, beets (for greens) and radishes.

Radishes of course, are a very quick growing plant. However the heat within a radish is greatly dependent on the type of soil....Seems my soil makes incredibly HOT radishes.

Note: will not be planting radishes next year.

Beets barely came up at all. Mustard was too spotty as well.  Swiss Chard came in...okay. Enough for a meal.

The Bok Choy did the best of al, but the one row was only enough for one meal. In our house, that's usually a no-go for a plant. If I don't have enough to freeze or can, its not worth it usually.

However, I only used a third of the vegetable garden, and really, the only plants that did anything were the swiss chard and the bok choy.

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