Country Traditions

January 16, 2011

Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores

Filed under: canning, family, gardening, herbs, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 10:23 am
Balsamic vinegar, red and white wine vinegar
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Back in November, at�the height of apple season, I decided to try making vinegar as a way to use up all the apple cores and peels that were left over from making dried apples. I thought I’d wait to see how the vinegar turned out before sharing the recipe. It finally appears to be as close to vinegar as it’s going to get, so here’s the story.

The recipe I used was from an old cookbook my mother picked up at a garage sale years and years ago. Unfortunately, I’ve just got some photocopied recipes from it now, so I’m not sure what the title of the original book was. I think it was probably the White House Cookbook, circa the 1890s. We had a copy of that one along with a few others from the same era, and I spent many an hour as a little girl happily reading through recipes for horehound cough drops and walnut catsup, instructions for cleaning lace, and five-course breakfast menus. What a different world – but still one I could somehow imagine myself in. Occasionally, my mother and I would try out a recipe or two. We even found our favorite Christmas cake recipe – a dense mace-scented white cake studded with hazelnuts and raisins – in one of the old books (they really knew how to bake back then).

via Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores.

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November 1, 2010

In pictures: How to press apples | Life and style |

Filed under: family, farming, gardening, recipes, wisdom — Tags: , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 8:32 am
American-style apple cider, left; Apple juice,...

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In pictures: How to press apples | Life and style |

via In pictures: How to press apples | Life and style | your apples. I like a fairly tart juice. Here I’m using almost all Bramleys. That’s fine at the end of October, when the sugars have built up. But pure Bramley juice made in mid-September would be too sour, and you’d need to blend them with dessert apples. Unless you have a sweet tooth, you’ll probably want at least a few cookers in the mix, or a perhaps a handful of the less acidic cider apple varieties. Experiment with different varieties and proportions until you find the blend that suits you best. Wash them.

Cut them up. You’ll need to do this only if you’re using a drill-bit scratter (or pulper) like mine or a kitchen juicer. If you’re lucky enough to have a hand-cranked scratter you can feed them in whole. But in any case, cut out all rotten or wormy flesh: if this goes into the press, it will make the juice taste musty. Recent bruising won’t hurt, however: in fact it tends to make the juice sweeter. You don’t need to remove the cores.

Here I’m using the cheap scratter I don’t like very much. It’s a drill bit, threaded through a tough plastic lid, with which you cover a bucket containing the chopped apples. The first time I used it, it wasn’t properly secured and the bit went straight through the side of the bucket. To prevent that from happening, you need someone else to put their foot on the other side of the lid (in this photo it’s just my foot, so you can see it more clearly. But don’t do this alone). If you’ve got a variable-speed drill, turn it down (to about 3/10). Once the lid is on securely, pull the trigger and raise and lower the drill for around 20 seconds

September 30, 2010

Seasonal Crafts: Apple Heads

Filed under: animals, dehydrating, wisdom — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 5:19 pm
Geronimo, 1887, prominent leader of the Chiric...

Indian crafts

The Native American art of making apple heads is both easy and fun. Follow these instructions for acreative fall craft.

  • Choose a big apple and start by peeling it.
  • Then, with a sharp knife, form the nose, make eye sockets, and cut a line for the mouth.
  • Carve around the mouth to accentuate the cheeks, and make some lines around the eyes and on the forehead.
  • Soak the head in lemon juice for about 1/2 hour (so it doesn’t turn brown) before hanging it to dry.
  • When the head is almost dry, add peppercorn or bean eyes. Use your imagination to make some hair and a body to go with the head.

Caramel-Covered Apples, All Time Favorite

Filed under: gardening, recipes — Tags: , , — dmacc502 @ 7:41 am
Peanut Caramel Coated Apples 2819px

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  • 1 14-ounce package individually wrapped caramels
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 8 apples, washed and dried
  • yields 8

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt caramels and milk, stirring often. (Or in a medium glass bowl, melt caramels and milk in microwave.) Place wooden sticks into stem ends of apples and dip into caramel until well coated. Place on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet or platter. Let caramel apples set and cool, about 10 minutes, before eating.

September 28, 2010

Root Cellars: Handle Your Harvest With Care

Filed under: dehydrating, farming, gardening, herbs, recipes, weather, wisdom — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 3:24 pm
An arrangement of fruits commonly thought of a...

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If you’re planning to store produce in a root cellar, here are tips to ensure to ensure that your fruits and vegetables survive storage.

  • Stock your cellar as late in the season as you can. If possible, chill the produce in the fridge before putting it in the cellar.
  • A few vegetables—such as potatoes, winter squashes, and onions—need to be “cured” for a few days in warm temperatures before going into cold storage.
  • Shake off loose dirt rather than washing it off. Many root–cellar vegetables store better this way.
  • Always handle your vegetables with care; even slightly rough treatment can cause invisible bruising, starts the produce on the road to decomposition.
  • Store cabbages and turnips in a detached root cellar so their odor, which can be unpleasant, will not permeate the house.
  • Think about where you place produce: The driest, warmest air is near the ceiling, more-humid air is lower as well as farthest from the door.
  • Most fruit “breathes,” and some—particularly apples and pears—should be wrapped in paper to retard the release of ethylene gas.
  • Making a root cellar in a garage or using pressure-treated wood is not recommended.
  • Vegetables piled together generate heat, which can lead to spoilage. Put on shelves close to the floor and rotate.
  • Check your vegetables regularly, and immediately remove any with signs of rot. From the lessons of the cold cellar comes the saying, “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.”

September 17, 2010

Baked Apples

Filed under: recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 5:19 pm
Apples are an all-American success story-each ...

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Wash and core apples, then remove a 1 inch strip of peel around the middle of each apple; place in a 2-quart shallow baking dish.Combine sugar, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar in a small bowl; fill the center of each apple and dot with 1/2 teaspoon of the butter. Add just enough water to baking dish to cover the bottom of the dish; bake, uncovered, at 350° for about 30 minutes, or until apples are tender. Baste with juices occasionally. Serve warm

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