Saturday, November 13, 2010

We Can Can

I had almost forgotten that Miss Chef and I actually tore ourselves away from the kitten long enough to do some canning.  When we missed the last of the summer tomatoes, I thought it was time to put the canner and jars back into storage.  But I forgot about apple season.

Other than hiking around in dramatically colored forests, Miss Chef's other chief interest in our mountain getaway was apples.  I had always taken apples for granted, as I grew up sort of surrounded by apple orchards--there was even an old, overgrown patch in our own woods.  I certainly never stopped to consider one variety versus another, other than knowing that Granny Smiths are good for pies.

Living with Miss Chef, though, has opened my eyes.  Now I know that cameos and pink lady are my preferred out-of-hand eating apples.  Miss Chef also enjoys a good honeycrisp.  I even get a little nostalgic when I see Winesap and Empire apples, more common up north.  So when we repeatedly passed by a roadside apple stand between our cabin and the town of Brevard, I knew we'd eventually have to make a stop.

To make a long story only somewhat long, we ended up with almost two bushels of mixed apples.  Our goal: applesauce and apple butter.

Miss Chef's hi-tech recipe card holder

There was, of course, a little hitch to our plan.  A hitch that is still nameless, but has four paws, a tiny face and a very loud mew.  We found her two days after our trip, and all our plans went out the window for a while.  Sleep deprivation will do that to you.  Unfortunately, we don't have a cool, dark storage area big enough for two bushels, and after two weeks our apples were beginning to go bad.

Fortunately we finally managed to find the kitchen again last weekend and get some of those apples processed.  We only had a half-day, so we focused on apple butter.  Except that Miss Chef found a recipe for apple cider jelly, and I wanted to make some mint jelly before a freeze knocked back our mint plants.  So, once again, we bit off more than we could chew.  At least I did.  For some reason--fatigue, stress, post-kitten depression--I found myself getting panicky and irritable that my pectin was clumping and my jelly was jelling before my jars were ready.

There's a reason Miss Chef's a chef and I'm not!

Apple Cider Jelly

Thankfully, she managed to calm me through my little fit--without taking over, isn't she amazing?--and we got everything cooked, jarred and processed.

mint jelly, apple butter, apple cider jelly

I was never a big fan of apple butter growing up (in spite of the fact we were ten minutes from the annual Apple Butter Festival in Burton), but I think I'm about to come around.  I dropped a tablespoonful into my Cream of Wheat earlier this week, and gobbled it down.  Yum!

We've managed to cram the remainder of our apples into our little cold cellar, so hopefully there will be some applesauce and pie filling in the near future.  At the very least, I think our Thanksgiving guests can count on at least one fresh apple pie!


  1. They all look good. I've never had apple cider jelly, but it sounds delicious.

  2. I agree, apple cider jelly sounds delicious!

    I made apple butter this year and it worked much better than last year - for some reason I finally got that wonderful deep caramelized brown. I have been eating it with peanut butter on toast every morning for breakfast ever since. Yum!

  3. They look good and colorful. They would make excellent Christmas gifts.

  4. You have my mouth watering. Apple season and the canning goodies they generate are a favorite. My sister makes me apple sauce and apple butter and I;m counting the days til the UPS man delivers them.

    As for that apple pie for Thanksgiving-- Your guests are in for a treat! Homemade is always the best!
    Cheers, jj

  5. Apple cider jelly sounds AMAZING and looks too cute!

    Loving the kitten updates in previous entires, BTW. So fun. And your little babe isn't a mean spirited, hoping to be kidnapped by aliens bully... :)

  6. Seriously? Yum. You're so lucky to have Miss Chef. She's pretty darn lucky to have you too. :)

  7. drooool, slurp... Thanks for the pretty pics and inspiration! I must make some apple butter fast! Have never thought to try mint jelly but now I'm thinkin next year I must...
    BTW - you're quite the talent w/alliteration - is that a teacher thang? ;-)

  8. What drew me to your blog, via Bossy Betty is that you are from Ohio and have landed in North Carolina...same here! so the apple products resonated in my's in our heart, yes?

    The kitty is adorable and I enjoy reading your blog...thanks for sharing!
    So wag away Rosie!

  9. That is a nice way of holding the recipes.
    Right there where you can see it.


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