Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to pick apples. It was a beautiful fall day, perfect for such an outing. The orchard had over 43 different varieties of apples, although the trees were not marked. As I walked through the orchard I would pick a few apples from each tree. In a very short time I had two full bags, plenty to make applesauce! Applesauce is one of the easiest foods to can – if you have a water bath canner. You can also freeze applesauce. I use the recipe found in the Ball Blue Book Guide To Home Canning, Freezing and Dehydration. The recipe is very simple. wash, stem and quarter apples. You do not need to core or peel the apples. I usually do take the time to core the apples before cooking. Cook the apples until soft in a large saucepot with just enough water or apple juice to prevent sticking. I then put the apples through a food mill to remove the skins. While the applesauce is still hot you can add sugar and spices if desired. Follow the directions for canning or place in freezer containers and you will have plenty of applesauce to enjoy all winter. It is such a satisfying feeling to have pantry shelves full of beautiful homemade applesauce.

Our growing season in Vermont is a short one. The ground is really too cold to plant until the end of May and we’ve been known to have a frost as early as Labor Day weekend! My dream is to have a greenhouse to help extend the season. We have friends that have a beautiful greenhouse and they have the most wonderful peppers and tomatoes. Until my dream comes true I find ways to extend the season in other ways. In the spring I use a cold frame to serve as a halfway house for my tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. When it’s time to move them out of the house but it’s still too cold to move them into the garden I use the cold frame. In the fall I use row covers. I planted lettuce in mid August and when the nights started getting colder I covered my lettuce crop with row covers. I’m not sure how long they will protect the lettuce but despite the fact that we have had several killing frosts we are still enjoying fresh lettuce from the garden! This winter I plan to read Eliott Coleman’s book: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables From Your Home Garden All Year Long. Maybe I too can become a four-season gardener here in Vermont.

Raising four children on one salary was often a challenge. I learned many ways to help stretch a dollar. Sometimes I would work part time or take care of other children in addition to our own in order to supplement our income. When I did work part time we would consider my salary as extra and not something that would be part of our budget.

One of the most important things I learned over the years was to make a price book. I am not the type to keep numbers in my head, so how was I to know if something was a good deal? The answer was keeping a price book.

A price book doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a way to keep track of prices. Each page contains prices for one item and the pages are in alphabetical order for easy reference. You might also have a code for various stores in the area, the brand, the size of the item and the unit price. You’ll be amazed what you can learn by writing down various prices, not every sale is always a sale! When you do find a good deal you can stock your pantry with confidence knowing that you are saving money. As you look through sale flyers with your price book, you will immediately be able to see what the good deals are. This may be the first step in getting control of your food budget.

 

It’s a wet, chilly Friday. A perfect day to make Cream of Carrot Soup! I’ve had this recipe for years and it freezes well although if you are planning on freezing it I would add the light cream later. This soup does not need to be blended but I have one of those wonderful emersion blenders, which I love to use! So before adding the cream I puree the soup. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Cream of Carrot Soup

2/3 cup diced onion (from my garden)
2/3 cup diced leek (from my garden)
¾ cup diced celery
2 cups shredded carrots (from my garden)
6 TBSP butter
¼ cup white wine
6 TBSP flour
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups light cream (I used whole milk)
Salt, pepper and thyme

Soften leeks, onions, and celery in the butter. Add wine and reduce heat. Add broth and cook for ½ hour. Add flour and spices. I used about 1 tsp of thyme. Add carrots and cook until tender. Add cream and simmer for 20 minutes.

Perfect for a chilly, fall evening!

Enjoy!  Nancy

 

Nothing like a full day’s harvest to help stock the pantry! First I collected the eggs,  it’s nice when each of the hens gives us an egg. Then I shelled my dried Cranberry Beans. Can’t wait to use them in a recipe. Pulled all the carrots; looking forward to making my delicious carrot soup. Spent the rest of the day digging potatoes, which is a real chore. However, a full cart of potatoes will last us all winter! Now to sort through them and pick out the ones that need to be used first, they’re the ones I stabbed with the shovel..

Coming soon my recipe for Carrot Soup!

Nancy

 

 

 

More than one post a day is very unusual but I wanted to let you know that you can now subscribe by email! You will be notified in your inbox every time I make a new post! Thank you for reading my blog!

Now back to the garden, it’s a beautiful day to dig potatoes!

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