Snapshots and Applesauce

It’s the holiday season…and..I’m really busy. Lots of great things are swirling around me and I couldn’t feel more grateful. I’m super excited that Ghostlight Coffee is doing excellently. Thistle stocks freshly baked goods every day.  We try to bring at least one new product in along with the old favorites. I couldn’t be happier about the selection of baked goods or the reception. If you follow our Facebook page, you’ll know that we will be opening a retail shop at the PNC Second Street Market in late January 2012, in time for Valentine’s Day. I am BEYOND excited about this. Living the dream and it is absolutely incredible. I couldn’t be more happy or grateful.

Did I mention the delicious drinks at Ghostlight Coffee? No? Oh here you go. S’Mores Mocha. And sock monkeys. It pretty much doesn’t get much better.

I’ve also been working hard on custom orders and a few events, like this one:

And this one:

Last weekend, Mr. Radar and I were determined to spend the whole weekend together. He helped me package and clean when I had to bake, and in our moments off we had a lot of fun! We (okay, Mr. Radar did all the hard work) cut down a Christmas Tree at Country Pines farm in New Lebanon, Ohio. While we were in the neighborhood, we stopped by Mile Creek Farm for some eggs, vegetables and a good chat with our friend Emily. We traipsed along the farm in her wake. She weaved in between all the fields, despite the fact that she is in her last month of pregnancy. She wouldn’t let us harvest the vegetables.  But we had a great time and we couldn’t be happier for Ben & Emily, their son Evan and their newest addition! We can’t wait to meet her.

We bought bubble lights for our tree and made homemade salt dough ornaments. That exploded because we accidentally used self-rising flour. (Oops!!) We also made a huge pot of applesauce with the help of Steve the Weather Watcher.

It’s not as Charlie Brown as it looks, I swear!

Vanilla Bean Applesauce

3 pounds of apples, peeled, cored and diced

1 to 1 1/2 cups Apple Cider

1/4 cup Bottled Lemon Juice*

1 Vanilla Bean, split and seeds removed

(1) If you are planning to can the applesauce, fill your water bath canner, set out your jars, rings and lids; sanitize everything.

(2) Combine all ingredients in a big stock pot or jam pan. Set oven to medium heat, and stir occasionally. Cook for twenty minutes. Turn up the heat to medium high and cook for another ten minutes. The mixture will start to boil and the apples will break apart. You can continue to cook the mixture until the apples break down, or you can use a stick blender to blend everything together. Make sure to remove the vanilla beans before blending. You want to save the pieces to put in the jars!

(3) When the applesauce has obtained a thick consistency and starts to bubble in a lugubrious fashion, it is ready. Ladle into sterilized jars** and process for ten minutes. Turn off the boil and let sit in the water for another five. Check seals in the morning to ensure that the seal is safe.

*I used bottled lemon juice for safety in this recipe. The acid is necessary to get rid of any germs, so please don’t use fresh this time! There is no added sugar here, so there is no room to play around with acid.

**I like to use bigger quart jars with a wide rim because I think it is easier to get the applesauce out. For gifts, make pints or half pints.

PS: If you live in Ohio, pick up a copy of today’s (Thursday, December 1) Columbus Dispatch. My Meyer Lemon Pizzelle recipe is featured!

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8 Comments

Filed under Family & Life, Recipes, Shop

8 responses to “Snapshots and Applesauce

  1. That tree is awesome! Everything looks fantastic.

  2. fancy YOU, our master in the kitchen, our guru at decorating EXPLODING the christmas decorations, that is hilarious!! c

  3. I’m interested in the vanilla bean in the applesauce — and a little worried about all that lemon juice in there. But I won’t be canning it in any case. When I make it, we don’t keep it for longer than a week or so.

    • If you are planning to eat the applesauce right away, you don’t need a lot of lemon juice. You should add a about a half tablespoon to prevent browning, but that should be enough. .The lemon juice in this recipe is necessary, as it is a canning recipe and there is no sugar added. It would not be safe to reduce the lemon juice, can it, and then eat it later– even if it was water bath processed. You could of course, add sugar instead. But lemon juice is the more healthful option. Acid is always necessary when canning with apples, as they do not have enough on their own to prevent botulism growth in a preserve.

      • I recently made some apple sauce (or stewed apples, really) with apple cider, which was really good. I am not equipped to can anything — the only recipe I have made safely is dilly beans because of their high acid content. Browning doesn’t matter to me — I am not fussy about food color, just taste, which is why I wasn’t sure about all that lemon in an unsweetened applesauce.

      • If you are using apple cider, it should have sufficient acid to prevent significant browning and would impart a really pleasant flavor. Because of the cider in this recipe, you truly can’t taste the lemon juice. It’s a safety precaution. If you don’t like it, definitely don’t use it!

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