Jun 012012

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Thinning clumps of apples

This is a cluster of fruit from one node.

by Avis Licht- It’s always hard to throw away fruit, whether it’s on the tree or in the kitchen. But for best flavor, health and size of apples, be sure to thin them early in the season. You should do this for pears, peaches and plums also. Here’s how to do it.

1.Fruit is usually born in clusters of 2 – 6 fruit.  When they are small, around the size of a dime, cut out the smallest, damaged, misshapen, or wrinkled fruit.






2. Carefully prune out the fruit at the base of the stem. Use a sharp clipper or scissors.

Thinning the little apples

Clip carefully.













3.Be sure to leave one good apple.

Thin to one apple

Leave one apple per cluster.












That’s all there is to it.  Now you have to be patient until it’s time to harvest.

Here’s an easy, delicious recipe for apple crisp.

Going out into the garden to pick fruit is a really sweet thing to do.  You can be sure the fruit is fresh, organic, and ripe.  I needed something really quick to bring to a family gathering.  So I stepped out into the garden and picked a bowl of strawberries, a bowl of blackberries and some wonderfully tart apples.

Apples, blackberries and strawberries from the edible gardenBeautiful fruit right from the garden (click to enlarge)

All I had to do was rinse them off, slice the apples and put them in the pan.  If you want you can squeeze a little lemon juice over the apples.  I didn’t have any, and no harm was done. I confess to sprinkling a tiny bit of sugar over the top of the fruit.

The next step is the crumble for the top.  You can use a variety of ingredients.  I use 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup  flour, both whole wheat and white, 1/4 cup  sugar mixed in with 1/4 cup butter and a pinch of salt. A little cinnamon and nutmeg goes well with this. Mix these ingredients over the top and voila, you’re ready to go.  Thirty minutes in 350 deg oven and you will have the best crisp you’ve ever tasted.

Special ingredients for the best apple crisp

Nov 222011
Make applesauce with your extra apples from the garden

An abundance of apples allows us applesauce

To paraphrase the saying, When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, I say, When apples are falling all around your head, Make Applesauce! But not just any applesauce.  This recipe has a magic ingredient.

A way to spend a rainy afternoon

Cut your apples, put them straight in the pot with a few magic ingredients

It’s late Fall, cold and raining.  You could be sitting by the fire listening to music. Cutting apples.  It’s not a chore, but a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

If you’ve got an apple tree and don’t know what to do with those extra apples,make applesauce with this easy recipe:

To make this easy wash the apples, but don’t peel them.

  • Take out the core
  • Cut off any bad spots
  • Put them in the pot
  • Add cinnamon, nutmeg, a little salt
  • NO Sugar necessary!
  • No water needed, the apples have plenty
  • ADD the magic ingredient: 1 Teaspoon  Rose Water per pot
  • Simmer on low heat about half an hour or until the apples are soft.
  • Eat warm with vanilla yogurt,
  • Or put in the fridge and it will last a couple of weeks.
Apples with Rose Water

Fill your pot, add cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and rose water

Applesauce Made Easy

A full pot of apples makes half a pot of applesauce

Super Simple, Super Delicious

Rose Water

Rose Water used sparingly gives an unusual and fine flavor to your cooking

Nov 012011
Butternut Squash

My rampant squash plants produced a good harvest of Butternut Squash

Winter squash, to be clear, is harvested in the winter, not planted in the winter. I have found that some people find this confusing. So now you know.  The best known varieties are Butternut, Acorn, Turban, and Banana. They are characterized by their hard skins as compared to summer squash like zucchini which have soft skins. You can store them in a cool place (about 55 deg) for most of the winter without problem. Unlike summer squash which will rot in a flash when you cannot bear to eat another zucchini dish.

Not only can you eat the meat of the squash, but also the seeds and the blossoms.

The easiest way to cook winter squash is to bake it in a 350 deg oven until soft.  Put a little salt and butter on it and eat it up.  But there are other ways too.

Buternut Squash

Harvested November 1, 2011

We love to eat butternut squash soup in the winter. It’s the perfect meal with a salad and a loaf of good bread. Here’s one of my favorite recipes for soup.  It’s so simple even my husband can make it.  And he has trouble boiling water.


Another great use for Squash: You can save the seeds from winter squash and dry them and roast them to eat.

Here’s a simple recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds, which works for all winter squash:

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

1.  Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. (This is easiest just after you’ve removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried.)

2.  Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat. If you prefer, omit the oil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

3.  Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325 degrees F until toasted, about 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.

4.   Let cool and store in an air-tight container

You can also season them with sweet or savory spices like cinnamon or garlic salt. (Although not these two together, please.)

Squash blossom

Even in late Fall we can find squash blossoms to eat

Last but certainly not least you use squash blossoms  raw or cooked. Deep fried, in pizza, baked or in salads. Amaze and delight your friends by serving them something they’ve never seen before.

Here is a link to five fantastic recipes for using squash blossoms.

Give them a try.


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