5 best ideas for those apples!

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This post will show you 5 different ideas you can use  for apples.

*Bake with them.  

Apple pie is one of everyone’s favorite pies and  bake up to a delicious dessert. By using a blend of different slices in a pie you can  get a wonderful pie. For any one of these ideas this great apple peeler makes the  the job of peeling quick and maybe even fun!

 There are also other ways to bake with apples if pie baking sounds a little intimidating! 

 Apple cake is easily mixed up in one bowl  and baked in a 9 x 13 inch dish, then served warm with ice cream!  

Check out this link to this Great apple cake recipe. 

*Dry apples.

Dip the slices in some lemon juice to keep them from discoloring. Lay the slices on each tray of your dehydrator keeping them flat with no overlap.

Each dehydrator has specific directions to follow in their enclosed booklet, so by following these you will just how long it will take.

I use this dehydrator. Rosewill Countertop Portable Electric Food Fruit Dehydrator Machine with Adjustable Thermostat, BPA-Free 5-Tray RHFD-15001

It runs quietly &  has 5 shelves that are easy cleanup.  It will probably take about 10 hours to dry them completely. Store in either freezer bags or mason jars.

*Cider

There are a lot of great recipes for cider online which surprisingly is easier than you think. One of my favorites is from www.sallysbakingaddiction.

She places a variety of sliced apples ( leave those skins  on) with a few other ingredients and places everything in a Slow cooker at low for 6-7 hours.  Once cooked down just mash it up and strain through a mesh sieve. Serve warm! 

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*Freeze

This is another great way to have apples for baking later. Peel,  core and slice the apples then place on a cookie sheet. Once frozen (about an hour or up to overnight) place them in freezer bags. This will keep them from sticking together.

* * you can soak them in lemon water before the cookie sheet step but that is optional! 

*Sauce- 

Applesauce is a nice addition to any meal that cooks up quickly and is good for you too!

Just peel your apples and place thin slices in a 2 or 3 quart sauce pan. A little water can be added to the apples.

 Just Cook on low/medium  heat stirring occasionally. Once the apples start to cook down mash them down a potato masher works great! Continue  to cook on low heat. Adding sugar is optional.

Apple  sauce can be frozen in containers and taken out and reheated. 

So as you can see there is no end to what you can do with  a bushel of apples.

Apple  season is upon us  once again. Why not   enjoy a treat with such a versatile fruit. 

Let me know your favorite ways to enjoy Apple Season!

Picking fruit with the right tools

With the arrival of fall comes the  time to harvest a variety of apples, pears and other fruits.

After gathering  up your baskets and equipment you need it’s time to head to the orchard to pick.

Depending on the size of your orchard there are a few ways to get fruit from the tress.

The first and probably easiest is to spread  out a sheet or tarp under the trees. Shaking the limbs will cause fruit  to fall.  The fruit can be gathered up and put in baskets or bowls.

As a result of  some of the fruit falling you will need to check  for bruised fruit and discard in your compost bin or leave to wildlife.

The tool we used worked to pick pears that were out of our reach was a fruit picker.Check out this great tool on Amazon here!

This  handy fruit picker  is perfect for those hard to reach limbs. The hook will wrap around the fruit and with a  gentle tug will release  your fruit into  the basket.

This was a pretty quick way to be able to pick your fruit which then can be put easily into your baskets.

Apples should be stored in boxes lined with foil or plastic to retain moisture at 32 degrees. Store apples separate from other fruit due to the gases that apples give off.

Ripen pears  by placing them in a room at 60 to 65°F for 1 to 3 weeks. The fruit is soft and a yellow-green color once it is ripe.  Store in  refrigerator at 29 to 32°F and 90% humidity.

Take  an afternoon and pick  fall fruit for winter enjoyment.

Sweet Autumn Clematis

As summer draws to an end this beautiful climbing hydrangea just begins to bloom.

We had previously had roses planted in this spot but over the years realized they just didn’t work in addition most roses require a lot of maintenance work.

We bought & planted Sweet autumn Clematis! This type of Clematis grows up a lattice. Similar to other varieties however  this one blooms  much later.

The plant dies back in the winter. The dead vines should  be cut back to about 12 inches from the ground usually in early spring.

This lush plant grows well through the summer with occasional trims to keep it on the lattice. Tieing the vine to the lattice as it grows will keep it from falling.

The buds of the flowers begin appearing in mid to late August and you can count on small white flowers covering most of the vine. The scent attracts a few hummingbirds and bees.

A beautiful climber without too much fuss.

That beautiful summer color

Hydrangeas are the last pops of summer color that actually get more beautiful as the days get cooler.

If you are lucky enough to have them in your yard you will agree.

Hydrangeas, a shrub that you can enjoy all summer long into the fall depending on the variety. 
Garden Design explains below just how hydrangeas can fit into your landscaping.

LANDSCAPING WITH HYDRANGEAS

Hydrangeas can play many roles in the garden, from hedges and screens to container plants. They especially shine in borders because they “play so well with others,” says Cheryl Whalen, head gardener at White Flower Farm. “But,” Whalen adds, “hydrangeas are also excellent solo performers,” which is good news for gardeners with small spaces.

White-flowered varieties create the illusion of snowballs in summer.
Mass pink and blue types with similarly-colored garden phlox (Phlox paniculata selections) and lilies for a visual confection of candy colors.
Blue varieties look like sapphires against a gray wall or set alongside a slate patio.
Bigleaf hydrangeas make imposing container plants – feature a pair in large urns.
Panicle hydrangeas can be maintained as good-sized “trees” in large pots.

Remember hydrangeas in containers will need extra watering. Learn how to grow a hydrangea tree.
Oakleaf hydrangeas are the boldest and have the coarsest texture, lending visual strength to shrub borders and woodland plantings.

As you can see there are several varieties to choose from. The photo above shows the variety Pinky Winky which we planted in our front yard. It has done very well in our clay soil and zone 5 ( cold side!)

One nice bonus with hydrangeas you can easily dry them for even longer enjoyment.

Too many colors!
That fabric I loved!

Fall Bulbs bring Spring Colors

Credit:better homes & gardens

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Fall not only is a time when raking and cleaning up your flower beds is happening but bulbs can be planted to enjoy in the spring too!

There are such a wide variety of flower bulbs that you could  easily find at least one to plant. Click on image  To shop for some favorite bulbs to plant.


The right soil is  a must in addition  to the depth that the bulbs are planted. By reading up on all the choices you will learn the best ones to grow in your area as well as those that are deer resistance if that is a problem.

Here are some great tips from  The Farmers Almanac ;

“Bulbs are one of the best ways to have a colorful spring garden, but when it comes to fall bulb planting, there are a few things you’ll need to know. Try out these tips this fall, and you should have lots of beautiful blooms next spring!

1. The Right Way to Plant Fall Bulbs

As you are planting bulbs, there are a few things to remember. First, make sure that you choose a spot with at least 6 hours of sunlight. For early bloomers, like daffodils, you can plant in a spot that gets sun before the trees have leaves in the spring. By the time trees start shading your bulb bed, early blooming bulbs should be almost finished for the year. Bulbs also like soil that is rich with organic matter or compost, and they love well-drained soil. Soggy soil or overwatering will cause them to rot. Finally, when you are ready to plant, the general rule of thumb is to plant a bulb three times as deep as the bulb is tall, making sure the pointy part is facing upwards.

2. Prepare the Bulb Bed Well

You don’t want to simply dig a hole and plant the bulb. For the best growth, make sure that you prepare a bed ahead of planting. This means that you’ll need to remove weeds and loosen the soil. It is also a good idea to add compost for nutrients or sand for drainage before you plant.

3. Buy at the Right Time

This is a tough one because nowadays, many stores are selling their fall bulbs in July or August, because they want gardening supplies out of the way in time to set up holiday displays. This means that you’ll either need to store your bulbs carefully for a month or three, or you’ll need to order online or by mail at planting time so that you have fresh, healthy bulbs. If you are stuck buying your bulbs early, then make sure they are firm and plump, with no mold or rot. Leave them in the bag that you purchased them in, and then place that bag in a paper lunch bag so that you can store the bulbs in the fridge without making a mess.

4. Plant at the Right Time

It differs from one climate zone to the next, but no matter where you live, there are a few ways to judge whether or not it is the right time to plant your fall bulbs. In general, try to plant when nightly temperatures are around 40 or 50 degrees, or about six weeks before you expect the ground to freeze.

Most spring bulbs need a chilly period to bloom, so if you live in an area where the ground doesn’t freeze (zones 8 to 11), then you’ll need to chill them. Leave the bulbs in the bags you bought them in, and simply place them in your refrigerator for six to 10 weeks before planting. Make sure that you don’t store bulbs with fruits, since the gasses that fruit gives off can make your bulbs go bad.

5. Plant the Right Bulbs

Not all bulbs should be planted in the fall. Dahlias and gladiolus should be planted in the spring, for instance, while daffodils and tulips do well when planted in late summer or early autumn. Here is the rule of thumb: If you are planting a bulb that blooms in the spring, plant it in the fall. For bulbs that bloom early summer or later, plant them in the spring.

6. Wait for Spring to Fertilize

Once you have the bulbs in the ground, they’ll stay dormant for the remainder of the fall and winter, so you won’t need to bother with fertilizing.

Wait until you start to see the first shoots of spring, because that is an indicator that the roots are growing and ready for nutrients. Make sure that you don’t fertilize after the bulbs start to flower because this will inhibit bulb growth.

If you haven’t tried bulbs in your garden, you definitely should. With daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and other early spring bloomers, bulb beds will give you beautiful color long before the rest of your garden starts to grow.

So it sounds like  a little work in the fall of the year will certainly reward you with a splash of color after a long winter.

Apple Season

Credit USDA

As fall approaches in most parts of the country apple season begins.

As many of you know the varieties are endless depending on what you are looking for. Apples make a great snack and are easy to add to that lunch box.

While apples are commonly eaten out of hand, many types of apples are great for cooking, too. One traditional pairing is apples with pork. The fruit’s sweetness complements the meat’s savoriness, resulting in classic dishes such as pork chops with apple sauce and sausage and apple stuffing.

Some, like the Red or the Golden Delicious, are tried-and-true favorites in the United States; others, such as Cameo and Fuji, are relative newcomers to the apple scene.

The fruit has been evolving for over 150 years with approximately 735  different varieties; now fewer than 50 are mass-grown.

Because of renewed interest in older—and sometimes regional—varieties, “heirloom” apples such as Northern Spy, Gravenstein, Canadian Strawberry, and Newtown Pippin can be found at farmers’ markets or local orchards.

As the temperatures cool down and the fall leaves begin to change you will get a chance to go to a local orchard.  Many local produce stands sell a variety of this popular fruit.

Just be ready to try to try to decide on what your favorite one might be!

That Sweet Taste of Summer

What better way to say summer  than with fresh picked blueberries!

According to Wikipedia:

Blueberries are perennial flowering plants with blue– or purple–colored berries. They are classified in the sectionCyanococcus within the genus Vaccinium. Vaccinium also includes cranberries, bilberries, huckleberries and Madeira blueberries.[1] Commercial “blueberries” – including both wild (‘lowbush’) and cultivated (‘highbush’) blueberries – are all native to North America. The highbush blueberry varieties were introduced into Europe during the 1930s.[2]

Blueberry
PattsBlueberries.jpg
Vaccinium corymbosum
Scientific classificatione
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Vaccinium
Section: Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus
Rydb.
Species
See text

Blueberries showing various stages of maturation. IG = Immature Green, GP = Green Pink, BP = Blue Pink, and R = Ripe.

Blueberries are usually prostrate shrubs that can vary in size from 10 centimeters (3.9 in) to 4 meters (13 ft) in height. In commercial production of blueberries, the species with small, pea–size berries growing on low–level bushes are known as “lowbush blueberries” (synonymous with “wild”), while the species with larger berries growing on taller cultivated bushes are known as “highbush blueberries”.

Blueberries can be enjoyed year round with easy steps to freezing.

To prepare for freezing  rinse the berries off and pat dry.  Lay  them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Remove from freezer and gently remove them from sheet ( I actually use a spatula for this step) and place them in quart or gallon storage bags, which ever you prefer!

You will be amazed that frozen this way there is no worry about them sticking together in clumps. Now you will have blueberries to enjoy on cereal  or even in  that smoothie in the morning!

* Hint this is a great way to freeze strawberries as well!.