This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Friday, September 02, 2011

thrifty thursday

It is Friday today but I'm pretending that it is Thursday so that I can join in with Thrifty Thursday and Tracing Rainbows and all the others.  There is already a huge amount of talent signed up for this but I thought that I must be able to find something to add.  So I am.

I have managed to add the logo above so I am feeling pleased with myself.  I have no idea how to add it to my sidebar but at least I have included it in the text.  This is a Big Step Forward for me : )

My mind has been on apples a lot this week so I thought I would say how I squeeze the most out of the apples that come my way.  It is apple season and I really quite envy those fortunate beings who have apple trees and particularly those whose trees produce keepers.

I have managed to acquire a large carrier bag full of windfalls this week and have been steadily processing them.  I emptied the bag (gently!) into a cardboard lettuce tray so that I could see what I had and starting processing with the most bashed apples first.

I tend to sit down to do this and preferably with a good tv programme/dvd (borrowed not bought) on so that all this becomes less of a chore.  I surround myself with several bowls and tubs, one each for :
  • nice apple pieces - stewed for either bottling or freezing for the winter although occasionally some bits get sidelined into an apple cake
  • nice pieces of peel and cores - these are put in a saucepan and just about covered with water, cooked and drained through a jelly bag to provide apple juice for making eg blackberry and apple jelly or sloe and apple jelly or jelly made with apple and a handful each of elderberries, sloes and blackberries which is just wonderful for its flavour.  The apple pulp remaining after straining through the jelly bag can be put back in a pan with half the amount of water for the second boiling and then strained again to squeeze out a bit more juice.  The juice from this second boiling and straining is weaker so I always add it to the first straining. Then the pulp is sieved and added to the stewed apple above.  Anything left from that sieving is given to the hens who think it is a treat, bless them.  Last year I made marmalade from a tin of Mamade and added in a pint of this apple juice and an extra pound of sugar.  By doing this, I got an extra 2 x 12oz pots of marmalade just for the cost of the sugar really - very useful as presents.  And best of all, my husband really liked the resulting marmalade and asked if I could do that again. 
  • slightly substandard pieces of apple/peel/cores which I don't deem good enough for human consumption are eaten by the rabbits and if there is enough the hens get some too
  • and lastly the biggest tub is for the grotty, wormy, bashed up, bruised or worse bits which get put into my wormery.
Not a lot is wasted!  Apples are treasure as every bit can be used - even the really grotty bits feed the worms in my wormery who turn them into high grade compost which helps to grow the other veg : )
I have to admit that I wondered if I would be quite so thrifty if I was the proud owner of a prolific apple tree but then I realised that the animals would just get a bigger share and that other treeless people would be able to receive bags of apples from me.  I might even get to be like the folk with too many courgettes who drop the bag on somebody's doorstep, ring the doorbell and sprint round the corner as quickly as possible.  I'd like the chance to find out!


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