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Thursday, September 01, 2011

September morn

September opens with a question, because the tomatoes began coming in today, ditto the apples and blackberries, but health issues in the family, three thousand miles away, mean that Risa could be called away at any moment, losing the harvest. She really wants this one, because rain this winter could render the garden, which has been lightly dusted with cesium, even more unhealthy through accumulation.

So how much can she do? It's a marathon week. Blackberries are going into the freezer and canning jars, tomatoes into the dehyradator and canning jars, and apples are also going into the dehydrator and canning jars. Whether there will be a juicing operation -- for which many quart jars await -- remains to be seen. There is also roof work to be done, which was put off by a busy August elsewhere. Risa's -- well -- frantic.

Fortunately apples can be processed quickly. We have a gadget which probably came from Lehman's -- an apple corer-slicer. It's basically a round, two-handled knife with thirteen blades.

Slam it down over the apple and you get a core and fourteen slices, ready to dehydrate or cook down for sauce/apple butter. We don't peel these, so since we don't want lo-o-o-ng peelings in our apple butter, we score the apple around its equator with a paring knife before slamming. Nothing could be simpler.

Here we have apples on the right and apples and tomatoes on the left. We keep it really simple with the tomatoes as well. Risa grabs a tomato, slices its top off (thinly), flips it over onto the cutting board, and slices again down the sides from the top, resulting in five to nine pieces that have the peeling on them, and a hulking, pulpy core that has none -- it's been "peeled." The ones with peeling go in the dehydrator, and the middles go, with some onion, veggie crumble, salt, and spices into the cookpot for canning.

Uneven quantities are evened up with a bit of judicious blending. A salsa might have a touch of apple in it, or apple butter might be brightened up with a little blackberry juice. We're not trying to be chefs here, just resilient.


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