Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fruits & Labors in the Harvest Kitchen

Our fruit trees gave us a lovely harvest this year.  The peach trees were especially fantastic.  There is just nothing like a warm, tree-ripened peach - probably my favorite fruit and I know the boldness of that claim.  And there are few things more miraculous than the fact that an incredibly juicy, sweet/tangy, perfectly round, gorgeous fruit can blossom and grow from a gnarly branch!  These natural processes are a wonder to behold.  We feel so fortunate to watch so many of them in our own backyard.  It is really satisfying and grounding.

Nate took a fruit tree pruning class at the OSU Extension center and he pruned our trees and vines up right!  We got beautiful peaches!  TONS of apples, quite a few pears and lots of grapes.  And we had choke cherries, but we didn't know what they were until it was too late to use them.  I think they make a yummy syrup...I'm going to have to be on top of my harvest game next summer -- so much to preserve!  First item of business will be learning about pesticides -- there were SO MANY earwigs in our grapes -- it was like a horror movie.  I could not even pick them; too gross.  Hopefully we can figure out how to keep the pests at bay next year and we'll press some grape juice.

We froze lots and lots of peaches (we've been enjoying peach/banana/greek yogurt/almond milk/oatmeal smoothies -- we were so sad to use the last bag of frozen peaches just after Christmas.)
We made 32 quarts of applesauce from our apples (again, need to spray for worms - we probably could have doubled our applesauce production if we weren't working around worms.)

Grandma Nan helped us make applesauce - it was so joyful to do that with her.  Loved learning that skill at her hands.  Love having that wisdom pass from one generation to another.  

Henry was so fascinated with the apple peeler/corer/moosher.  He set it up mostly by himself.  The kids loved turning the crank and pressing the apples down with the wooden mallet and watching the gorgeous sauce pour out of it.  

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