Applesauce and Mushrooms

We’re cooking up more great fun here at Leafhopper Farm! The apples are piling up and some sauce must be made to keep our fruit through the winter. Applesauce is a simple way to can fruit in a water-bath canning method. Apples have a high acid rating so they are safe for water canning. Not all food can be canned in this way so check before you water-bath can. The next step up for safety in canning would be a pressure cooker.

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The small punpkin on the table is slated for pie- we had a great harvest of sugar pumpkins this year and that means lots of sweet treats through the Fall and into the dark lean times of Winter. Squash of all kinds are wonderful to store for a few months in a cool, dry place out of the sun. We’ll store out squash in a back bedroom and monitor it through the next few months. Some of the larger squashes will be kept to feed the goats too.

Yesturday a good friend came to visit and I had a special treat to share- crackly cap boletes from the farm! I was out hunting and found a lot of great young mushrooms for the pan. Foraging on the farm is always fun, and the mushrooms are eager to be discovered across the pasture and woodlands if you know where to look. I snagged a few and was especially taken by these two very small shrooms- also crackle caps, who were too cute to cook. I’m still fawning over them in the kitchen and will cook them up with some farm fresh eggs tonight.

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The crackle caps are wonderful in a pan with a little cooking oil- I use pig lard right now, there’s a lot of it available from a Kunekune we recently butchered. Cook on medium heat, stirring continuously until soft and slightly shriveled. You want to get the water weight out of them for optimal taste, and also cook them well enough to receive the nutrients. Many mushrooms will not unlock their nutrients until heat breaks the fungus down. Add a pinch of salt to taste and there you have it, a delicious simple meal of mushrooms!

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Fall is such a  busy time in the kitchen- with all the food prepping and larder filling, things are hopping! The apples will simmer overnight until the fruit is liquid and spices are added to heighten flavor. I use cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The apples have enough sugar that I don’t add extra, but if you want yours to taste store bought- put in sugar, and a lot of it. I usually pair my applesauce with meat dishes, so it can be a little more savory. That’s also a bonus to making your own food, you get to hone in on the particular taste and method that you like. It seems so obvious, but I’ve learned so much about my own taste in cultivating my own food. Still a lot to learn, and that’s the fun happening now at Leafhopper Farm.

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