How about them apples?

We are now in my sons favorite time of year. It's apple season here in North Eastern Maryland.
This weekend we picked a total of 72.2 pounds of mixed varieties of apples from Lohr's Orchard which meant we were busy, and yet I cannot express the joy I felt as I pulled quart jar after quart jar of preserved APPLES and not tomatoes. 
Honestly, I am rather sick of tomatoes.  Really.  As much as I love tomatoes I have hit my threshold for canning and preserving them.  I know by October I will not want to see another fresh tomato for probably, at least two to three months. 
As of lately my days consist of going to my full time job during the day, then picking our son up from his before and after care for school, and then coming home to see what tomatoes need to be picked, what tomatoes have fallen down during the day, what tomatoes need to frozen (which by the way, includes starting some water to boil so I can peel them first), and then work on all the other necessary things that are needed to be done around the house.
You know?  The average Mom type of things. Cleaning, cooking, homework, taking the trash out, etc etc.

Banana Sour Cream & Cranberry Nut Bread
So this weekend we had several projects to work on.  I seriously had to use up the bananas that have been sitting in our freezer since this past spring so those went into a Banana Sour Cream and Cranberry Nut bread.  I do not think I've ever actually used Sour Cream in a single fruit nut bread.  This loaf turned out to be incredibly dense and moist.  It is most definitely a recipe I will be using in the future if our commissary has reduced bananas again.
Next, we had to start using up all the apples we picked so made Apple Rhubarb Chutney.  Unfortunately however, due to our current September challenge I had no dried cranberries left thanks to a little fruit monster that resides in my house but I did have some frozen cranberries left.  So I added some of those along with a handful of raisins that the fruit monster has yet to find.  We also changed a bit more on this as we do not like super sweet chutneys so we removed one cup of sugar and then also added some cloves and allspice because we wanted to kick it up just a notch. 
So far Edward and I both are pretty impressed with this recipe.  All the flavors of Autumn are present here.  Fresh apples, crisp, tart rhubarb, sugary raisins and cinnamon.  I cannot wait to use this on possibly some chicken thighs in the crockpot or maybe some pork chops on the grill come November. Then, since I was still waiting on the bananas to defrost, I cut up some more apples, some jalapenos, and bell peppers from the yard and got to work on the Curried Apple Chutney
This one is much more tangy, thanks to the vinegar.  It almost reminded me more of a pickle relish than of a sweet chutney.  I, as usual, also tweeked this one a bit and added some Garam Masala which imparted a nice smoky flavor which I think might help round out all the flavors.
That is the thing to remember about canning your own foods.  The flavors, first and foremost need time to mix so it's important to let your jars sit for at least two weeks before opening.  I usually do not start using my own preserved and canned foods for at least a month or two which means that by May, June and July we cook very little with canned tomatoes as we have none left by then. 

So next projects? Apple sauce, apple chips and fruit leather, all of which, thankfully are super easy and I know I can expect help from my little munchkin since these are his favorite snacks.
Apple chips are by far the easiest as all we do is peel each apple, use our Pampered Chef Peeler/Corer, toss all the now sliced apples into a lemon juice/water bath until we are ready to lay them onto the screens. 
24 hours later we have apple chips, ready for consumption. 
Apple sauce and fruit leather have one extra step as the cored and peeled apples go into our crockpot where they will cook down for at least the next 12 hours or so.
For the fruit leather, I simply take the now cooked down apples, flavor them however I want. No, wait, however MY SON wants and then we spread the puree onto the screen and within a day and a half we have fruit roll ups.
The flavors you can create are really endless.  I have even recently seen a recipe for pumpkin pie fruit leather that has been passed around on Facebook that sounds divine.
For apple sauce we just pour the puree into jars and process in a hot water bath for twenty minutes. Super easy.

Sour Cream Banana Cranberry Nut Bread

Time 1hour 15 minsServes 1 loaf

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 medium bananas, mashed
How to make it

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the butter mixture until smooth.
Finally, fold in the sour cream, cranberries, and bananas. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Apple Rhubarb Chutney from Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving
4 C diced pealed cored apples, treated to prevent browning
4 C sugar
2 C rhubarb
1/2 C water
grated zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 C dried cranberries
1 Tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 Tsp ground nutmeg

In a large stainless steel sauce pan, combine apples, sugar, rhubarb, water and lemon zest and juice.  Bring to a hard boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes.  Add cranberries, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Boil gently, stirring frequently, until thick enough to mound on a spoon.

Ladle hot chutney into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles; wipe rim, center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger-tip tight.

Submerge in a hot water bath and process for 10 minutes (or your recommended altitude time).  Remove from canner, place on a wire rack, and allow seals to set and to cool for 12-24 hours.

Curried apple chutney recipe 
2 quarts chopped, peeled, cored apples (about 16 medium)
2 pounds raisins
4 cups brown sugar
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped sweet red pepper
3 tbsp mustard seed
2 tbsp ginger
3 tsp all spice
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp salt
2 hot red peppers, chopped
1 clove, garlic, minced
4 cups vinegar


Combine all ingredients in a large saucepot. Simmer until thick. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Ladle hot chutney into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

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