Homemade Apple Sauce

I was feeling ambitious yesterday, so I made some Apple Butter, then some Garlic Jelly and what the heck, I still had some time… I decided to make some Apple Sauce.  I should have stopped while I was ahead.

Apple SauceWhen I was done I turned the burner off, or rather I thought I turned it off, and actually turned it to high, where it cooked all night long. 7 hours it boiled on my stove.  I was afraid to open the pressure cooker. It was bone dry. Boil might not be the right word, since it wasn’t really liquid anymore.

These jars were actually full when I started out.  I used only the best spices and it tasted so good, the texture was perfect.  Tomorrow, I get to start all over again. The entire batch ruined.

So, if you ever wondered what would happen if you boiled something all night long, wonder no more. Actually, the apple sauce doesn’t taste too bad as long as you don’t scrape the bottom of the jar.

I can’t wait to try my Garlic Jelly.  Not only did I leave the garlic in the jar (instead of straining most of it out) but I used Ultra Gel to thicken the Garlic Jelly.  I had made some last week that was incredible but I made it with liquid Pectin.  My bad, it’s full of GMO’s!    It didn’t even occur to me to check.  I mean it’s for canning, it must be all natural, right?  Wrong.

This might just be the answer to prayer…  I’m going to try it out.  By the time I get to the bottom of the package, I’ll either order more or find something else.  What’s important to me is it’s GMO free.

Ultra Gel is a gluten-free, non-GMO cornstarch that can be added directed to any liquid, hot or cold, for instant thickening. The Ultra Gel Starter Kit includes one 16-oz pouch of Ultra Gel and one Ultra Gel Answer Book with 150 pages of easily prepared, delicious recipes.  From dips and dressings to dessert, the recipes are friendly for chefs of all skill levels and include nutrition information and tips and tricks for special diets and make-ahead preparations.

Of special interest are the sections on Canning and Jams and Jellies. Since Ultra Gel can be refrigerated, canned or frozen without losing quality, there are plenty of recipes for bottled pie fillings and sauces. [Get Ultra Gel]

Did you know you can make your own Pectin?  In fact, there are several methods.  I’m going to try this method soon:    Harvest: Making Your Own Pectin!  Be sure to check out other recipes, too.

Apple Pectin: How to Make It, How to Use It, and Why I Don’t

Homemade apple pectin seemed like such a frugal and healthy idea –  an all natural, chemical free alternative to store-bought pectin that I could make from apple scraps I would normally throw away.Brilliant, right?

Imagine my dismay when my experiment was a complete and total flop.  Oh, my jam “set” just fine.After I had almost completely boiled it away, that is.  And added way more sugar than I usually do.

She recommends using  Pomona’s Pectin, but what about those nasty GMO’s?  I won’t feed them to my family.  We are using Ultra Gel. My jelly setup just fine.  So, we shall see.

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Market is playing catch up!

We had a bunch of errands to run in Merced and decided to stop off at Costco. They were having a sale on Nutiva Coconut Oil – 74 oz. for $14.99 – organic.  For that price  I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t something wrong with it. I’ve got five in the pantry and I’ve been using one for what seems like forever.  I can’t find a thing wrong with it.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (There is no such thing as extra virgin…)

I have to say I was pretty dismayed at the amount of organic food available.  I was looking for organic staples: flour, sugar, corn meal, rice and beans. What I found was crackers, soups, cookies and other assorted items of prepackaged food that I don’t trust anymore.  I’m tired of buying stuff with things I can’t pronounce and ingredients I have no idea what they are.  If I can’t make it in my kitchen, our family is not going to eat it.

I was happy to see they had packages of grass-fed ground beef that were very reasonably priced. Sadly, they didn’t have any other types of organic beef or any other organic meats.  The Modesto location seems to have a better selection, but I haven’t been there for awhile, so it’s hard to say.

There are deals to be had in the organic market.  Look for deals on beef during the month of October.  When you find them though, stock up because once the supply is gone, the price shoots back up, and it’ll stay up until Spring.  Consider canning the beef, chicken, pork, etc… instead of freezing it.  The meat will last longer and will be tastier, and most of the cooking will already be done.  It’s just a real nice thing to have on hand.

I think we’ll find a lot of organic food to choose from come Spring. Plan ahead.  What does your family like to eat?  Make a list! What items would you like for them to start eating? Search for recipes that use those items. Buy extra when items are cheap and either can, freeze or dry them for later.

Get to know your neighbors, plant a garden. If we demand organic food, things will change, slowly…

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Crazy Shopping Day…

Have you been out shopping?  I drove down the hill today to pick up some chicken base, so while I was at it I figured I might as well do a little grocery shopping. I remembered I wanted to bake some  Blackberry Bliss Bars  —  they looked so good — so I needed some coconut as well.

English: Front entrance of a Save Mart superma...

First I stopped in at Cost U Less (I love that store), for the chicken base. It seemed like everything was on sale. I walked in the door expecting to buy three items and ended up spending $75.  I can’t believe how expensive everything has gotten.  I saw they had chips on sale 2 for $5, I thought to myself, “that’s more like it.”  Only to find out when I opened one that they’re only 9 oz. I couldn’t believe it!    Guess we won’t be eating chips unless I make them at home.

On the way out of the store, there was a woman going through the boxes stacked up in front of the store.  I was putting away my receipt in my purse, while walking out of the store and accidentally ran over the  woman’s  toe.  I told her I was sorry and kept walking.  She got all ticked off, acting like a jerk. I don’t know what else she wanted me to do —  I said I was sorry.  I sure wasn’t going to kiss it for her.

Then I went to Save Mart.  Big mistake. I had to get coconut and they didn’t have it at Cost U Less.  I went down the aisle where the baking items are and the only coconut on the shelf was their store brand and I wanted the real deal — Baker’s — I think it tastes better. There was a sign that said more coconut could be found at the front of the store.

So, I walk around, and around these little islands they have set up at the front of the store but I’m not finding any coconut.  I asked a stock boy to help me, he turned around, then met up with some co-workers and I was a distant memory.    I asked another person’s help and they ignored me outright.

At the checkout counter, I told the cashier about not being able to find the coconut and you’d have thought I was invisible. It was really strange.  So, as I was leaving the store, I asked another cashier where I could find a manager.  She finally put me in touch with some — I don’t believe he was a manager but he said he was. I told him what had happened and I kid you not, his eyes just glazed over.

I ended with … “that is why I won’t be shopping here any more” and walked out.  He never said a word.

It went downhill from there.

I promised the hubby I would stop at KFC for a bucket of chicken. I left my son to wait for it while I went to Price Co. for the coconut.  Bad mistake.  I was getting frazzled by this time.  There were cars everywhere, so I slipped in between them all to park but I didn’t quite make it into the spot.  I was in fact parked almost diagonal. Some guy took me to task about it.  He quipped that I should slow down.

Well, I’ll spare you the details, let’s just say he didn’t have anything else to say to me after I told him to mind his own business…

By this time, I’m in a foul mood. Everyone else is in a foul mood. Merry Christmas.  If this is how things are out there NOW, what are they going to be like in a couple of weeks?  I know I won’t be venturing out again any time soon.  It will come in the mail (thank you Amazon!) or I don’t need it.

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