I have been busy with food but not how you would think. We moved to California earlier this year and I have been attempting to learn the art of gardening. In fact, today I planted my fourth round of veggie plants including romaine lettuce, collard greens, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots and celery. I've never grown collards, carrots or celery so we'll see how those turn out. I don't think I've ever eaten collards before but I've been told that they are loaded with even more vitamins than spinach are are great in a shake masked with fruit. My broccoli, peas and green beans that I planted 3 weeks ago are really thriving and I think I'll be harvesting some beans/peas soon. My summer bell peppers plants are still happily producing and I've taken to eating slices of bell pepper with my favorite homemade hummus for lunch. It's surprisingly filling and of course helps my diet! Two weeks ago I picked 72 bell peppers from my five pepper plants. Seventy-two!!! These are great sliced and then frozen for later use. (See bottom part of picture below.)
I think I could talk about the ups and downs of my gardening efforts forever but here is the even bigger reason for my lack of posts. I have been drying, fruit leathering and saucing apples like it's going out of style! To date I have about 140 quarts of apple sauce, 2 gallon bags of dried apples (more to come of these since hubby likes to take them to work as a snack), 15 pints of apple pie filling and a handful of fruit leather rolls.
In this picture you can see some apple sauce to the left because we ran out of time on sauce day and had to freeze a couple batches. In the center is some of my pie filling and on the lower side of the photo is some of my frozen bell peppers.
I really liked the taste of the pie filling and wanted to share this easy recipe with you. It's loaded with sugar so there isn't much NOT to like. Mmmm!
Apple Pie Filling
Recipe from Ball's Blue Book of Preserving
Yield: about 6 pints
6 lbs apples
2 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
2 T lemon juice
Wash, peel, core and [thinly] slice apples. Treat to prevent darkening. (Place in large bowl with 2 quarts of water and 2 T Fruit Fresh or I used additional lemon juice in place of the Fruit Fresh. Don't let set in mixture for more than 10 minutes.)
Combine sugar, flour and spices. Rinse and drain apples; stir into sugar mixture. Let stand until juices begin to flow, about 30 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Ladle pie filling into can-or-freeze jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Cool at room temperature, not to exceed 2 hours. Seal, label and freeze.
My mother-in-law gave this Ball book to me a couple years ago. It is a great resource for food preservation.