Wednesday, September 7, 2011


What is more beautiful than a branch loaded with McIntosh apples!
Note to self: this photo taken August 29, 2011 
The McIntosh apple is sweet and crisp, but not hard like a Delicious. We have never ever sprayed this tree with insecticide or anything else, yet rarely, rarely have I found a wormy apple. It's a great eating apple, not a good keeper, not the best pie apple for those who like to see individual slices of apple in their pie because it bakes fast and becomes soft, but wonderful for applesauce, apple crisp, and dehydrated apple slices.

 McIntosh Apples

Canning season has begun. I love the abundance of fruits and vegetables from the garden. It still amazes me that a little seed put into the ground can grow into a huge plant that bears so much fruit. What a gracious and generous Creator!

Ye Olde McIntosh tree

Unfortunately, last year we didn't get a single apple from this tree because after the tree had flowered, we had a hard frost which killed all the blossoms. No blossoms, no fruit. :-(  This year, the tree more than made up for the loss of apples last year. It's loaded!

 Applesauce, September 2011

There's something so rewarding about seeing those jars of applesauce sitting on the shelves. But it's a long way from the McIntosh tree to the shelf. Each morning I pick the apples from the yard under the tree, and each day I either dehydrate those apples or sauce them. Canning is a messy process, especially for me, for I seem to make a huge mess in the kitchen when doing any project, involving the apple peeler, corer, slicer, food mill, pots on the stove, etc. etc.

 Kitchen utensils

I thought I had taken a photo of the kitchen when in the throes of canning. Evidently not. What you would have seen is just about every pot and pan I own, out on the kitchen counter. Misty would be lying at my feet, as would apple juice and a few errant apple peels. What you do see above are apples that I dehydrated, peaches that I made into peach jam (my first peach jam and good grief! is it delicious!), the apple peeler, corer, slicer (inexpensive - $19.00) and indispensable when canning or dehydrating apples, (If you're doing this the old fashioned way, stop! This little tool is worth its weight in...apples) fragrance and essential oils for the batch of soap I made yesterday.

The Baby Mac

We added another McIntosh tree this year. The nursery had them on sale and I thought it was about time that another tree share the responsibility of providing apples. After all, our other McIntosh is 22 years old. I asked the nursery lady if I should feed the tree, but she said no, just give it lots and lots of water. It's now in the ground and doing well. (I am happy to report).

 Tomatoes waiting to be canned

I planted Early Girl, Roma, and Beefsteak (the Early Girl are my favorite, about tennis ball size, uniform, a determinate tomato (which means it grows so long and stops, most of its fruit coming in about the same time - making it a nice tomato for canning). Of all the years I've been gardening, I'd never noticed the words 'determinate' or 'indeterminate' on a package of tomato seeds - until last year!

The Canning Dungeon
More tomatoes are in the canner, processing at 11 # pressure for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, I sit and work crosswords while waiting.

So today, I'll be canning more tomatoes and apples. Autumn has arrived in Wisconsin.

...and more!

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Unknown said...

First... what a gorgeous apple tree!! We have alot of citrus fruit trees out here in AZ and although they smell wonderful when in bloom, they just don't compare to the sight of a matured apple tree! I miss that part of the Midwest for sure!
Second... all that canning stuff so reminds me of growing up and watching my mom can at the end of every summer! Great memories :)

Candace said...

I had high hopes of trying my hand at canning this year; but it's going to have to wait until next year. It's just not going to happen. Your tomatoes look fantastic, Judy. I know you are going to enjoy them and the delicious applesauce when the snow keeps you inside by the fire. It looks like a lot of work; but, it's going to be so worth it. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos!

Life Happens said...

I love, love, love apple season! My favorites to pick at the orchard are Granny and Fuji. We can apple pies in a jar. Delish.

That's awesome that you have a mac tree! I've never made apple sauce before and would love to try. Maybe I'll do it this year (if I can get to the orchard soon).

Canning is a messy process, but the reward afterwards is priceless. Great food storage too. :)

Empty Nester said...

I remember canning with my grandmother. And I always remember it as being fun just because it was time with her! Thanks for stirring those memories for me today!

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, Loved reading about McIntosh apples because my daughter and I will be canning applesauce too. We just finished 60 lbs of peaches-some spiced and some regular; she's made pickles, salsa,pears and hopes to do some other fruits.
Our kitchen is a mess when we are doing it also.
Have a great day!

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

What a wonderful bounty of canned yumminess! We had apple trees a few years ago, but didn't really do much with them (the kids were young and I couldn't imagine finding the time). Now I miss having them and could just kick myself for not taking advantage of the more.

Anyway, your applesauce looks wonderful. I will often make a batch for the freezer - the whole family loves it.

Prairiemaid said...

Love your apple tree! Bet there are lots of good memories associated with it, too!

Your kitchen is a busy one, I see. The peach jam sounds wonderful. Love it when something new turns out great!!!

Judy, you are always so busy and get so much done. I think you would work circles around me. LOL

Thanks for coming by. Love visiting with you in the mornings...or anytime.


Heide at ApronHistory said...

Apple trees are so beautiful!! I wish I had one! I just have a little cherry tree that always seems to be struggling.(trying to perk it up) Maybe I should just dig it up and plant an apple tree.
Do you do any aoole butter? I think that is our favorite apple thing to can.

Happy Canning!

Heide at ApronHistory said...

P.S. That is suppose to be Apple Butter! (?!?)

Yenta Mary said...

Oh, what gorgeous, gorgeous sites!!! I miss having the time to can and preserve ... sigh. SO MUCH WORK, and yet incomparable rewards ... :)

Terri @ A Creative Princess said...

Oh how I wish there in the kitchen with you! We used to have an orchard my mom and I would go to and pick apples to make applesauce and now the orchard is gone. I lost my mom 8 years ago and Fall is always bittersweet for me because I remember those beautiful memories we had in her kitchen! It's kind of funny, we would start out together and then she would tell me just to go play with my kids! I think she found out she could get more done and less mess with me out of the kitchen! Lol! Thank you for the reminder of another reason I love Fall!

Judy S. said...

I love McIntosh apples, but my favorite cooking apple is the gravenstein. Instead of canning, I like to freeze applesauces. Blueberries freeze really well also, and I already told you about peaches in OJ. I made 3 batches of peach freezer jam this week and am just now baking a peach cobbler. DD's recipe.....hope it turns out.

laurie said...

That was a fun post to read!

Tiffanee said...

I Love canning!! Your applesauce and dried apples look so good. I am jealous of all those tomatoes. I am dying to can some salsa!! Good luck with all of it!!

Carla from The River said...

I have been canning green beans. The feeling of looking at the jars lined up on the pantry shelf is wonderful!
Thank you for the comment regarding the boys. :)

J_on_tour said...

That sounds almost like an industrial sized operation. Unfortunately it seems that your summer has been very short this year.

Just Wedeminute said...

You are SO blessed to live in such a wonderful area, it was in the 100's all summer and most of our fruits didn't make it.


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