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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Thursday, October 02, 2008


Home canning has to be one of the biggest budget stretching things you can do to reduce your food budget. It means growing your own and following the harvest/sales but trust me just in terms of financial savings you will be well ahead. Your pantry will be over flowing and your family will be eating healthy meals thanks to your home canned goodies that cost a fraction of store bought.

Switching gears when home canning during harvest season is the norm because several different fruits and vegetables will be in season at the same time. In season now are Ontario: tomatoes, apples, pears, plums, onions, potatoes, rutabagas, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkins and winter squashes. Ontario corn, peaches and nectarines are just ending so may still be available in some areas. This means I will be doing a lot of switching gears over the next couple of weeks. Last week I processed 6 hampers of tomatoes with 5½ of the hampers run through the food mill for various smooth sauces. Let me tell you I was sure feeling that so really welcomed the break to visit the kids with the exception of those in Wisconsin at the home of parents to oldest grandbaby. While the guys went golfing the girls including the grandbabies went to the apple orchard.


I adore visiting orchards! Most of the ones I frequent have U-pick as well as some type of store where you can buy already picked. They tend to be apple only, apple/pear or peach and almost all of them have local grown produce as well. What is important to realize when shopping orchards is they don't all offer the same variety of produce for various reasons. One variety may grow better than another in that location (climate) or one variety may be a better seller (economics) and one variety may offer better pest/disease resistance (economics) over other varieties.

I like going to Chudleigh's Farm for apples when in the GTA area. They are home to the famous apple blossom that I still haven't duplicated simply because I got side tracked by other things but I promise that I will put it on the top my list of things to do. I can get a couple of apple varieties at Chudleigh's that I can't get at home. Mind you I am mainly looking for cooking apples. Two of these varieties are Greenings and Wealthy. I am not happy with their prices that are considerably higher that what I pay at home but to get that particular variety I have to pay the price. All of their apples are similarly priced. At home I can easily get a bushel of apples for well under the price Chudleigh's charges. At the same time when we visit the kids I bring a 10 lb bag of L-star apples that are harder to find outside our area. I bought a 10 lb bag ($3.95) of L-stars for making applesauce.

Cooking Apples

Pictured from left to right is L-star, Greenings and Wealthy apples. Immediately the differences are size and colour. All are cooking apples but have different characteristics so are better used for one product over another.

L-star apples are beautiful saucing apples. They are very flavourful with a good tartness but what makes them perfect saucing apples is they thicken up just by puréeing. There is no need to add any sugar or cook down the sauce. This apple is definitely the star for making apple sauce! They are a bit smaller this year averaging about 6.5 cm (2.75 in).

Greenings apples remind me of what Granny Smith apples used to be. They have a nice green peel with a tart flavour and firm texture. They are a nice pie apple but also can be used for sauce. If using for sauce a bit of sugar or honey can be added. They are averaging about 7.5 cm (3 in) this year.

Wealthy apples are a combination in texture and flavour between L-star and Greenings. They are averaging just slightly smaller than Greenlings this year. They are a good saucing apple and are suitable for other cooking uses but will tend to break-down more.


We eat a lot of apples but the vast majority of the apples I processed are not peeled. The reason for this is the peel adds both nutrients and fiber (when left in the finished product). The peel also adds flavour and colour to the finished product. For that reason I have a cheap apple peeler bought through Avon.

Ok, I didn't spend a lot on my apple peeler but it takes the pressure off my wrists. I will have to replace it as the suction cups do not want to work on the new tile. If you have a lot of apples to peel, an apple peeler is a must for speeding up the process. Don't toss those apple peels! They can be used to make homemade liquid pectin or juice.

Pie Fillings & Applesauce

I wrote before about apple pie filling and applesauce so nothing has really changed. Pictured are "Wealthy" apple pie filling (1), L-star applesauce (2)and "Greenings" apple pie filling (3). Recipes can be found clicking the links.

A general rule of thumb is 10 lb of apples will yield about 6 - 500 ml (pint) jars of apple pie filling or apple sauce. Wealthy is a nice cooking apple with a lot of flavour and it is quite firm so I was disappointed with the results of the apple pie filling (1). Clearly the apples broke down a bit more than the Greenings (2). That doesn't mean the apple pie filling made with Wealthy apples is unusable but it will be reserved for tarts and fillings where slices are not as important. I do not flavour or add sugar to my apple sauces because we prefer the taste of apple only and because I like to cook with applesauce. What you will notice is my apple sauces range from a very pale creamy white to a very pink depending on the apples used. This colour comes from the peelings. Not only does it add character it adds flavour. My basic method for making applesauce never varies. I wash the apples then quarter. They go into a large stock pot with about an inch of water. I cook and stir until all of the apples are cooked then put them through the food mill. The hot applesauce is then processed.

Thursday I am back to processing tomatoes so watch for a few new recipes. I will still be processing more apples as I need a year's supply. Most will be as sauce or pie filling but some will be dehydrated. I will be doing at least one batch of Apple Maple Jam as it is perfect for cooking with. Watch this blog for more ways that I use up my apple preserves.

4 food lovers commented:

Alan Gay and Straight said...

I have a pear tree with a million pears...
....any easy recipes? (don't like applesauce type things)

any Salsa recipes also ???

Garden Gnome said...

Two of the easiest ways that come to mind for pears are home canned and baked. Of course you could can pears with other fruits for fruit salad. Pear jam is nice too. Pear butter starts out in almost an applesauce texture but after cooking down is more of a very thick jelly texture so you might like that.

Canning pears is quite easy. You will need about 1 1/2 lb pears per quart. Use a simple thin syrup (2:1/water:sugar) and process 25 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. I will make a full entry about that shortly.

The two main salsas I make are fresh and canned tomato salsa. I'll post how I make fresh salsa the next time I make it along with a picture.

Anonymous said...

How are you coming with duplicating Chudleigh's Apple Blossom recipe? I saw a segment about Chudleigh on the cooking channel and wondered if a recipe was available for their Apple Blossoms. If you have come close, I'd love to know the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Same here. I'd greatly appreciate the secret behind the apple blossom filling. It sounds like you can use flaky pie crust and an oat crumble mix for the topping.