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Friday, September 29, 2006

Sweet Potatoes and apples

My camera is still missing, and I fear that the youngest of my boys has thrown it out with the trash. It wouldn't be the first time this has happened. And yes, we do get trash service out here. Everyone in the county does, no matter how far from a town they are. I have lived in places where there was no trash service available, but because of one man who started his own trash removal service, decided to give rural dwellers trash service {because he was rural} everyone here has that option. Burn bans are common here. Between the Kansas winds and the semi arid conditions, fires can easily get out of control. But I am sure that you are not interested in my trash removal habits.

It was a beautiful early fall day, yesterday. I was dragged out {kicking and screaming APPLES!} to the garden, where I was desperately needed. I can't gather food items from the garden, I won't be able to process them, not until I get these apples under control. Don't marry an intelligent man with high work ethics if you ever want to have your own way. No amount of appealing to his logic helped. I had to work in the garden. I could have walked away, but when I saw the state of my neglected garden, I was soon digging up my sweet potatoes. It is time to check them.
Sweet potato vines

I dug up two plants, instead of the one test subject. The roots had intertwined, and I was forced to if I wanted to save any of the sweet potatoes from the second plant. I pulled up 5 very robust tubers, the largest is almost a foot long. {where is my camera} and 12 smaller tubers, which I will can, yam style. This is my first successful year with the sweet potato. A feat I am most proud of. In the previous years, we were only getting the spindling, dry, long roots. Discovering these nice fat ones, makes all the work {not much real work involved, mainly planning} worth it.

I noticed that our green beans have dried up nicely, and they need to be seed harvested for next year. I also need to plant the fall and winter garden, and prep the remaining area for next spring. Peanuts will need to be dug up soon, and my tomatoes are attempting a second round of blooms. This year was a bad year for tomatoes.

On to the apples.

I am now at the point where I can confidently declare, I AM SICK OF APPLES! I can not tell you how many pounds I am down today. I had this brilliant idea to take a bushel and process the apples into juice. This is more work then expected. Late last night, my back burning, I wanted to chuck the apples to the hens, throw my hands up and declare defeat. It's so much easier just to buy apple juice. The cost of my labor is more expensive then the 10% real juice drinks. Yet, it didn't feel right just to give in like that. Not in a fit of my drama queeness. I put my work away in the refrigerator, and decided that things will be better in the morning. I skipped reading last night and went to bed early. Now as I sit here typing, I can see that bushel of apples, and they are mocking me.

My mood is not much better this morning. I am not looking forward to my back burning and pleading with me to give in. I do not have an apple press. My husband had me find some blueprints on one, and he has promised to build me one before next years harvest. That doesn't help me right now. I am using a food processor to shredded the whole apples, and cheesecloth to squeeze the juice out. It's a slow, trying way to do it, but it is all that I have, and must make do. Funny, if I had the money to purchase the much needed equipment at the time it is "needed", would I still want to do this? With what some of these items cost, it would be cheaper to buy the food stuffs at the grocer. As of this morning I could truthfully answer you as, no, I would not be doing this if I had more money to be able to "splurge". Yet, if I scroll down a few entries and recall the day out, picking apples with my family, I will have to reply to that question as, yes, I would still do all of this. I didn't have this kind of time, or blissful moments with my children when I was working third shift at the hospital. I ended up bringing work home with me.

Needless to say, I am still in the process of making apple juice. I have decided to freeze it, rather than can it.

To my question about apple recipes that do not contain cinnamon;

Magid suggested apples cooked with red cabbage, cider vinegar, and spicy sausage -apples in turkey stuffing (with bread, onions, mushrooms, etc, possibly also walnuts) -apple-[other fruit] jams

Cheryl suggested "This isn't really a recipe for an apple dish, but my kids love it and it might help get rid of some of your apples (and there's no cinnamon). It's for Apple Dip (tastes like caramel but is healthier). Stir ½ cup of brown sugar into 1 cup of cream cheese. Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla (sounds like a lot, but it's right). Stir until smooth and use as a dip for apple slices."

Marina sent me a recipe for butternut squash/apple soup.

Lynn S sent me to her site where everything she knows about apples are in one convenient place.

Merry asked if Venison and apples go good together. I don’t know, as I am not a hunter the only time I get deer is as a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law and her boyfriend that do hunt. I will see if I can find a recipe, and keep back some apples just in case I do get deer this year.

Sirannon informed me that she was going to ask family for any ideas.

Thank you guys. More suggestions welcome.

Some apple trivia to amaze {annoy} your friends with; Folk hero Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) did indeed spread the cultivation of apples in the United States. He knew enough about apples, however, so that he did not distribute seeds, because apples do not grow true from seeds. Instead, he established nurseries in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

I do hope there are no more problems with the feed for my blog. You should now be able to see the entire post. If you are still having problems, please let me know. Comments and questions are always welcome.


owlhaven said...

I am so with ya on the apple thing. I finally declared victory over mine two days ago.

Mary, mom to many

The Unusually Unsual Farmchick said...

apples apples everywhere. I too did a bushel and will be going back for another next week. Mine has been made into flavored chunky applesauce (blueberry being the fav here)and of course apple wine. A few pies to appease the Captain too.Hope to be thru the 1st bushel by Sunday....
Sweet potatoes are what I hope to try my hand at next year. Was your bogger ones from the "lazybed" you spoke of before? Is there something different you did this year in comparive to the last? inquiring minds want to know ;D.
~Unusual Farmchick

Stephanie said...

I am laughing (with you I hope.) About Feb. go back and read this post and I bet you will be glad you stuck with it! :)

Stephanie said...

It's me again. Thanks for linking me on your Saturday post! If you are still looking for recipes this post has a good one. I linked you on this too!

Phelan said...

Owlhaven, WOOHOO! Color me green.

Tammie, wish I was able to go back and get them when needed, not take as many as I had {ok greedily wanted} to. I saw your applesauce post. Sounds yummy, I love blueberries. Sweet Potatoes, I will make a post on Monday all about it.

Stephanie, laugh all you want, it will be funny to me in Feb. ~giggle~ If my hands didn't hurt so much right now, I would be laughing more. I know it's worth it, but sometimes. . . It wasn't much of a post about your blog. I will get a personalized spot for you soon. Off to read what you wrote about me.

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