Thursday, November 6, 2008

Applesauce, Peaches, & Squash, Oh My!

Aren't they pretty? I'm very proud of these lovelies, the result of my first attempt at canning. (These aren't all of the jars I canned - the rest are in my pantry and food storage. These ones are just the lucky few that got to pose for the picture.) The pink stuff on the left is applesauce - my girls love that it's pink. And it tastes great. Thanks, Penny, for teaching me to can! I'd like to say that I'm now a canning fool, but until I get all my own equipment, I'll still be kind of slow to do this on my own. But, as luck might have it, I think Mac is going to get me canning equipment for Christmas. We will just have to cross our fingers and see. I'm really excited about the applesauce. Not just because it's pink, but because I picked the apples myself, for free. It was actually kind of a scary experience. I was dangerously perched atop a VERY tall ladder to get at the best apples, the lower ones having been picked already. I kept having the scene from Pollyana flash in my mind - you know, the one where her hand is reaching for that perfect apple, and suddenly she's screaming and falling, and later we find out she's paralyzed! Well, that scene kept coming to mind as well as the grief my poor husband and girls would experience at losing me if I were to fall, because don't we all at times like to imagine what would happen and how our loved ones would react if we were to pass on unexpectedly and tragically? And believe me, if I had fallen, I would have died. The ladder was THAT tall. Happily, I survived and lived to make this wonderful applesauce, along with some apple butter that isn't pictured, but I didn't bother to can that, I just froze it. Now, you're probably thinking I forgot about the squash part of my title. No, it's coming. Check out this photo:

My friend Kim was kind enough to share with me a spaghetti squash from her garden. I had never had spaghetti squash before, but I was excited to try. So I cooked it according to her instructions, scraped out one half of the squash, tossed it with butter and parmesan, and sat down to scarf almost all of it down. We had enough for leftovers, well, enough for me to have leftovers, the next day. And then I was thinking about what I should do with the other half I had left, so I decided to make baby food with it. I scraped out all the flesh, tossed it in my blender, added a smidgon of water, and presto - I had this perfect, store-bought-looking puree perfect for Lilly. I half-filled old baby food jars I had saved and popped them in the freezer. Since then, I've done carrots (also donated from a friend's lovely garden), and I plan on using some of my lovely canned peaches and applesauce as well. I love all the money I'm saving, so if any of you are wondering what to do with all your leftover winter squash and vegetables, now you know that you can make baby food with it.

While I'm on the topic of squash, I have to pass on a recipe for you. I made this dish the other night, and I thought it was so exotic and decadent. If you like squash, you've gotta try it out. I've only recently discovered that I like squash, since I never had it while I was growing up. (Don't worry mom, I forgive you!) But it is spectacular! I feel the same way about zucchini and sweet potatoes, food I never had the privilege of sampling as a child but now couldn't live without. Here's an awesome zucchini recipe if you're tired of making zucchini bread all the time.

Well, I've finally exhausted my thoughts on squash and canning. Who would've thought my longest post so far would be about food, and NOT my children or family? Well, if you know me, it's probably not that much of a surprise.


Cathy said...

Impressive! I've been wanting to make my first daring attempt, but haven't quite gotten up the courage. Those looked awesome! And, by the way, could you ever be tired of making zuccini bread?

Katy said...

You are so good. I only made freezer jam this year. I will have to get into canning more next year.