Thursday, September 29, 2011

apple pie filling!

Canning Apples

Filed under The Kitchen

Apple Pie Filling in A Jar
Crystal Miller

24 cups of peeled, sliced cooking apples
2 1/2 cups honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg optional
1 tsp. salt
10 cup water
1 ½ cups Clear Jel (not the instant clear jel)
( )
3 TBS lemon juice

In a large saucepan combine honey, cinnamon, nutmeg salt and water. Heat on medium heat until hot but not boiling. Slowly add Clear Jel using a whire whisk to mix and stir until smooth. Add lemon juice.

Place prepared apples in a very large bowl and pour syrup over them. Gently stir apples and syrup together.

Fill jars with the apples/syrup mix leaving ½ inch of head space at the top of the jar.

Wipe the jar tops with a clean cloth and put a new lid on the jar. Put a ring on the jar and adjust to finger tightness.

Can in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. This recipe will make 7 quarts of ready to go apple pie filling that will fill and 9” pie plate. For an additional options you can also use this to make cobbler.

canning applesauce

Canning Applesauce

I get a large pot to hold my apples. I put a little water in the bottom to keep the apples from scorching. I fill with the apples and set them on the burner on about medium heat. I let them start cooking. As they cook they breakdown and soon have the look of applesauce. This can take a bit of time. If your temps are too hot you will scorch the apples. So turn down the burner if you need to and stir often. Once all the apples are well cooked and look like they should I test the applesauce to see if it needs to be sweetened. Sometimes I have used apples that were so sweet nothing else was needed. Sometimes I have had tart apples (I know there are types of apples better suited for sauce than others but typically I am just thankful for whatever type they are and work with it from there! ~smile~).

If you find you need to sweeten your apples I recommend a natural sweetener. I have used honey before and am always happy with that. One year I added a can of apple juice concentrate to my big pot of sauce and it sweetened everything up just perfectly.

The last added touch is optional but something we enjoy and that is a bit of cinnamon. I can’t give you amounts because I have no idea how many apples you are working with. Even if I did, I probably still could not tell you because I just sprinkle, stir, taste and don’t worry too much about it. Remember when adding any spices, “less is best”. Add a small amount and test. You can always add more but you can’t take it away.

Now you can either freeze your sauce or can it. If you are going to freeze it put it in zip type bags or reusable freezer containers (glass or plastic) and put in the freezer. If you want to can your sauce then you will need canning jars (pints or quarts), new lids and rings and a pot large enough to hold your jars and cover them with water.

For canning, fill about half full your canning pot with hot water and put on a stove burner to heat up. Wash the jars and fill with hot water to sterilize and heat the jar. When your sauce is ready fill hot jars with hot sauce to within one inch of the top of the jar. Apply a brand new lid and a ring (you can reuse rings). Screw down the lid and using a jar lifter put the jar of sauce into your pot of hot water. After all jars are full (or your canner has all that it will hold), fill the canner with hot water and bring to a boil. Cover with lid and let the jars boil in the water for 15 minutes for pint jars and 20 minutes for quart jars. If you are at higher altitudes you need to boil for longer periods (for altitudes 1000 -3000ft add 5 minutes (to the original times given), for 3000 -6000 add 5 minutes to pints and 10 minutes to quarts and for 6000+ add 10 minutes to pints and 15 minutes to quarts).

When the time is done, lift out the jars and let them cool to room temp. You may hear pinging and popping sounds as each jar is sealing. When the jars are cool you can touch the lid and to make sure it feels tight and well sealed. Remove the rings, wash and dry them for later use. You can store the jars in a cool place and enjoy through the winter!

Making your own pumpkin puree from Fresh Pumpkins

Making Your Own Pumpkin Puree from Fresh Pumpkins

I planted smaller size pumpkins that were meant for pies. The big ones you get in the grocery store this time of year are not really pie pumpkins. I have heard that they tend to be stringy and not too tasty. Pie pumpkins are sweeter.. so my suggestion is if you want to do this at home see if you can locate some pumpkin varieties that were grown for making into pies (maybe farmers markets or health food stores).

// //

I processed 4 pumpkins on this day weighing a total of 33bs. Here is how I did it…

The first pumpkin was about 8lbs.

I started by carefully cutting it in half..

Then cleaning out the insides by scooping with a spoon until all the seeds and insides were gone. Make sure you save the seeds.. I will show you at the end how to roast them.. I did all 4 of them this way..

// //

Then it was time to cook them. I have a 14 quart stock pot and that was big enough to hold half of them. I would have used my big canner pot for the job but at the time it was sitting on the stove simmering beef broth. So I did the cooking in two batches. I added a couple inches of water in the bottom of the pot, cut my pumpkin halves in half again to get them to fit in the pot. I brought the water to a boil, put the lid on, reduced the heat and let it basically steam until the pumpkins for fork tender. This took about 45 minutes..

When they were done cooking I pulled them out of the pot and put them in a bowl.

Then I began to peel them. The peels come off pretty easy at this point. You can use a knife to loosen the peel and take it off…

But what I found to be the easiest way is to use the same thing I use to peel potatoes.. a cheese slicer .. if you have never peeled potatoes with one of these little guys.. you should.. once I tried it, I never went back to a regular potato peeler. I found the skins came off quick and easy this way..

After peeling, it was time to puree… I used my food processor. You could also use a hand blender. But the food processor made very fast work of it all…

After all the pumpkin had been processed I had a large bowl full of puree….

Which I bagged up into quart size bags. I ended up with 5 ½ quarts of pumpkin puree…

Now you can freeze this. You can not safely can pumpkin puree. It is too heavy and dense and can not get hot enough to be able to can safely so it must be frozen.

This puree can now be used in any of your favorite pumpkin recipes! You can do this or I even cook it and then dehydrate it. There is a wonderful website for this. Go to

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Freezing spinach

Its that time of year when most of us that have grown a garden have way too much spinach. Here is a way to put up that spinach for future use. This article was written by simply canning:

Freezing Spinach
and other greens

What you choose to pack in is personal choice. I used quart size freezer bags. If you pack in freezer containers you will not be able to remove air as well and run the risk of freezer burn.

Freezer boxes work best for things that are frozen wet in a syrup. Spinach is frozen blanched and dry.

A quart of spinach is too much for us to use at a time. The way I like to freeze spinach is in smaller quantities, a cup or so.

I wrap those in inexpensive sandwich baggies then store several of these in a quart size or even gallon size freezer bags.

freezing spinach That way I still get the heavier plastic made for the freezer from the quart bags. But the smaller less expensive bags hold the amount we need.

I use fresh spinach in my green smoothies. I am going to try using the frozen spinach to make smoothies this winter when I am longing for fresh garden foods.
Freezing Spinach
First harvest your spinach early in the morning when it is at its freshest.

Rinse the spinach well. Sorting out any weeds, browned or damaged leaves or other things (bugs) that might have gotten mixed in.

Spinach will often have dirt hiding in its leaves so you need to rinse well. I'll rinse and drain several times before I am content that all dirt, bugs or dead leaves are taken care of.
freezing spinach rinsing
Spinach and other greens need to be blanched before freezing. This helps retain the color and nutrition.

Bring enough water to cover your spinach to a boil. I use my blancher but a large pot will work as well. When the water is boiling throw in the spinach.

freezing spinach blanching
Start timing right away for 2 minutes. As soon as time is up remove spinach to a bowl of very cold or even ice water.
freezing spinach cooling

This stops the cooking. The spinach will have reduced in mass somewhat but not as much as you might think.

The last step is to drain the spinach and dry. I have a salad spinner that I use to spin the water off. If you don't have one you can simple drain in a colander then spread out on paper towels and blot dry.

freezing spinach drain
My good friend Cindy has a great method of spinning her salad that I think would work here too. Drain your spinach then place in a tea towel. bring up the corners of the towel forming a sort of sack of spinach. Give it a whirl. Go ahead and spin it around. The water will be spun out into the towel.

Now package the spinach in whatever freezer containers you prefer. Here are my smaller baggies of spinach. I flatten the spinach out in the baggie and squeeze out as much air as possible.

freezing spinach baggies

Here is my labeled quart bag. It has 2 sandwich baggies inside with room for a couple more.

freezing spinach bag

Remove as much air as possible. Label, seal and freeze. Freezing spinach is super easy!

Latter day Prophets speak on preparedness

Latter-day Prophets Speak on Preparedness

“Latter-day Prophets Speak on Preparedness,” Ensign, Aug. 2007, 33
Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–)
Fifteenth President of the Church

“The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings. The best welfare program is our own welfare program. Five or six cans of wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary. …

“We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. I am speaking now of food to cover basic needs” (“To Men of the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 58).
Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994)
Thirteenth President of the Church

“The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah” (“Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 69).
Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985)
Twelfth President of the Church

“We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. … Make your garden as neat and attractive as well as productive. If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities” (“Family Preparedness,” Ensign, May 1976, 124).
Harold B. Lee (1899–1973)
Eleventh President of the Church

“We expect the individual to do all he can to help himself, whether it be an emergency for a single family or for a whole community, that the relatives will do all they can to help, then the Church steps in with commodities from the storehouse, with fast offerings to meet their needs that commodities from the storehouse will not supply, and finally, the Relief Society and the priesthood quorums will assist with rehabilitation” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee [2000], 171).
Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972)
Tenth President of the Church

“[The pioneers] were taught by their leaders to produce, as far as possible, all that they consumed, and to be frugal and not wasteful of their substance. This is still excellent counsel” (“The Pioneer Spirit,” Improvement Era, July 1970, 3).
Wilford Woodruff (1807–98)
Fourth President of the Church

“We feel led to caution the Latter-day Saints against forming the bad habit of incurring debt and taking upon themselves obligations which frequently burden them heavier than they can bear, and lead to the loss of their homes and other possessions. … Our business should be done, as much as possible, on the principle of paying for that which we purchase, and our needs should be brought within the limit of our resources” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff [2004], 232–33).
George Albert Smith (1870–1951)
Eighth President of the Church

“How on the face of the earth could a man enjoy his religion when he had been told by the Lord how to prepare for a day of famine, when instead of doing so he had fooled away that which would have sustained him and his family” (Deseret News, Mar. 4, 1868, 26).
Brigham Young (1801–77)
Second President of the Church

“If you are without bread, how much wisdom can you boast and of what real utility are your talents, if you cannot procure for yourselves and save against a day of scarcity those substances designed to sustain your natural lives?” (Deseret News, July 18, 1860, 153).

Pie Crust

Dont know about you guys, but for all the things I "can" do....I cant make a pie crust to save my life. But I came across a great post found at that has a great tutorial. Crystal always has a way of making things look so easy. Thought I would share it!
Whole Wheat Pie Crust

I love making pies! I never use to as much, mostly because of making the pie crust. I was not happy with the whole wheat pie crusts I was coming up with. I did not want to use shortening so at first I subbed butter for the shortening. That was not too bad, but could be hard to work with sometimes. Then I tried olive oil. That was ok too.. but finally I tweaked a recipe and played around with it until I came up with something that I absolutely love now! I use both butter and coconut oil. I also make the pie crust in my Bosch. If you have a Kitchen Aid that will work too. One lady told me she has also done it by hand with success. In my directions below I am using my Bosch.

The recipe makes 4 crusts. If this is more than you want at one time, the
remaining crusts can be refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen. Wrap the unused pie crust dough pieces in plastic wrap and store in your fridge or freezer. If you refrigerate or freeze them make sure you let them come to room temp before trying to roll them out.

You can find the recipe here:

My daughter Sierra made the crust while I too the pics...

Begin by gathering your ingredients together:

If your flour is freshly ground you will need to pack the cups with flour
because freshly ground flour is light and fluffy and you need the full amount of flour for this to work.Add the flour to your mixer bowl:

Add the salt:

Mix this together:

Now add the coconut oil and butter. Make sure your butter is room temp:

Begin by using the wire whips to mix the flour and coconut oil and butter. Mix them until you have a crumbly looking mixture:

Measure out the cold water in a measuring cup. Add the vinegar and egg and mix well:

Change from the wire whips to the dough hook in your mixer. Add the
water/vinegar/egg mixture:

Mix this in your mixer on low speed until the dough has been cleaned off the side of your bowl. This process can take 3 or 4 minutes. If you find your dough is too dry or stiff you can add more water, a teaspoon at a time until the dough is nice and soft. If it is too moist add flour a teaspoon at a time until the dough is nice and soft:

Take the dough out of the bowl and divide it into 4 balls:

Now it is time to roll out the dough. I use plastic wrap for this….

Lay a sheet on the counter:

Flatten one of the dough balls and set it in the center of the plastic:

Lay a second sheet of plastic wrap over the dough:

Now begin to roll the dough out. Start at the center and roll outward in all directions, keeping the dough as round as possible:

To see if your circle of dough is big enough set the pie plate over the dough:

When the circle is the right size it is time to put it in the pie plate. Peel off the top layer of plastic wrap:

Lift the bottom layer off the counter and slide your hand under it and lift it up:

Now lay the pie plate upside down on your hand, centering it in the middle of the dough:

Flip the pie plate and dough over. Realign the dough if it is off center:

Now remove the plastic wrap:

Now pick up the pie plate and using a butter knife go around the edges of the pie plate to clean off the dough that is hanging over the edge:

If you have an area on the crust that does not cover the pie plate:

Take a piece of the dough that you cut off and cover the spot. Then scrape off the excess that is hanging over the edge:

Now you can leave the pie dough as is or you can make the rim a little fancy. Holding two fingers on the inside edge, squeeze the dough together as you push the dough in with another finger on the outside of the edge to give you fluted look:

There you have it.. your dough is ready to be filled with whatever type of pie filling you desire!!

On the night that we made this pie crust we made an apple pie. The recipe for the apple pie can be found here:

Begin by peeling and slicing the apples:

Stir in the remaining ingredients:

Fill your pie shell with the filling:

Make the topping mixture:

Cover the top of the pie with it:

Bake your pie and enjoy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

This is a great recipe for sourdough starter. Having this on hand really makes good use of your food storage and is wonderful for digestion, not to mention your pocketbook! And its yummy!!!
Sourdough Starter
08:55, 2006-Apr-26 .. 3 comments .. Link


About 5 days ago I started a batch of sourdough starter. I am using Sally Fallon̢۪s recipe from her book Nourishing Traditions. She uses equal parts freshly ground rye berries and water.

I started with 2 cups of each (per her instructions) I ground the rye berries up in my mill...

and mixed with water in a bowl......

Then poured into a gallon size glass jar. I put a double layer of cheese cloth over the top and secured it with a rubber band.

After 24 hours I poured the whole mix into a clean bowl and fed my starter with 1 cup freshly ground rye berries and 1 cup water and poured it all into a new clean gallon size jar.

I have been repeating these steps each day. At the end of 7 days, which will be this Wednesday, I will be ready to use it in various recipes. I plan on trying out her bread recipe and maybe do a bit of experimenting on my own.

After one week, you can put it in the refrigerator in an air tight jar and feed it less often, unless you are using regularly then you can feed it daily. Sourdough that is fed and cared for can last for years. I am not sure how long mine will last as I have done this once before and kept it going for awhile before I forgot all about it! I will keep you posted on my progress!

Our food co-op president just sent out an e-mail about making sourdough interesting tip I hadn't heard before is to put the loaf in boiling water for a minute before baking, as you would bagels or soft pretzels. Apparently this helps give that chewy outer crust characteristic of the good sourdoughs. I haven't made any yet but will be attempting it soon.