No-waste apple experiment = minor kitchen hell.

Apple Goodies

Goodness under Glass

So, I like to think it was an honest endeavor: buy lots of apples, make as many different things as I could using all the various bits, save some seeds, and compost whatever was left.  After a solid week and some change dealing with all of this *mess*, I’m finally done and I wish I could say I was 100% pleased and proud.  Mostly, however, I’m just exhausted.  I had about 20 lbs. of lovely little Gala apples, and now, I have a cabinet full of home-canned apple products, some light sugar burns, and sticky counters.  Productive, indeed.

I ended up with three different products: salted caramel apple butter, apple-carrot juice, and apple ginger jelly.  I could have gone a few other directions with this, subbing out some of the apple butter for apple sauce, and maybe opting for some apple cider vinegar in lieu of the jelly, but this round of goodies worked well for me.   Ben has already worked his way through almost 2 quarts of the apple juice and we’re on our second jar of the apple butter.  I haven’t tried the apple jelly yet (been working instead on a jar of blueberry jam, which is HEAVEN,) but I’m a little apprehensive about the thickness of it.  I like a fairly firm jelly and this stuff seems a little thin post-processing, but I have not yet refrigerated it to see how the texture is cold.  I’m hoping it’s alright in the fridge, but I know that at room temperature it’s not really “gift ready” liked I had hoped it would be.

Perhaps the biggest lesson I’m learning from the big projects like this is that I’m not nearly as organized in the kitchen as I thought.  My worst habit in cooking is that I almost never do mise en place, and I *should*.  I can get away with it much more easily during the course of normal meal prep, but it’s a bit of a disaster when trying to do food processing like this.  As much as I understand the need for better prep, I’m up against at least one wall: my kitchen is small and doesn’t have a lot of room to leave things out as I work.  Combine this with the usual hiccups and interruptions that come with having a toddler and I’m finding it difficult to work out a good system.

In the end, though, I do consider this project a success simply because I finished it without giving up and curling up in a ball in the corner.  Here are some stats:

Total Poundage of Apples: About 20!

Quart jars of Apple-Carrot Juice: 5

Half-pints of Apple Butter: 9

Half-pints of Ginger Apple Jelly: 8

Broken jars: 2

This did give me some more goals, and I’ve got a list of things I want to can.  I’ve crossed over since completing this project and have started PRESSURE CANNING (omfg.)  Coming up?

 

Finishing Christmas baskets (with some awesome, awesome goodies)

Getting in the habit of canning my leftover soups, from the Soup-A-Week project I’m undertaking

Marinated Garlic

Canning homemade spaghetti sauce

 

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