There are many things ripening in our gardens this month. Here are some preserving ideas:

Golden Harvest Apples by the bushel?

Lucky you if you have lots of golden harvest apples on the trees!

  • Pick the apples that are the most golden. As you do a lot will drop so pick those up as well. Wash gently and discard any questionable material.
  • I do not pare, but just cut off chunks from all sides until down to the core. Place these in large pans and simmer until they feel mushy when squashed with a spoon.
  • Pour into a colander placed over a large bowl and push against the sides with a wooden paddle until all the juicy goodness is captured in the bowl.
  • I do not add sugar but just fill up plastic containers leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace and place them immediately into the freezer. If you like a bit more sugar, add it when the sauce is still hot and stir well.

Nothing like bread and butter with applesauce on a cold blustery day!

Wow! I have a lot of Cucumbers!

The cucumbers are prolific this year and I am making the most of their cool goodness. I’ve used a few time-honoured methods for 50 years.

Preserving 9-day pickles

You might be saying “What do I do for 9 days to make pickles??” It is a lot of work, but well worth it when you have crunchy pickles with your roast beef sandwich, salmon or ham, turkey, egg, cheese! Any sandwich tastes that much better with a pickle.

  • the proportions of vinegar to sugar is very important. If the recipe calls for 5 cups of sugar, then the vinegar should be half that amount.
  • Start by chunking up some cucumbers (not too thin and not too thick), place them in a crock or large glass bowl and cover with boiling water for 4 days.
  • Each day you dump off the water that has sat overnight, rinse off the pickles and add fresh boiling water.
  • On the fifth day, make a syrup of vinegar, sugar, and spices in a cheesecloth bag. After dumping off the old water, pour this syrup over the pickles.
  • Each morning, dump the syrup into a pan; heat it and then pour it back over the pickles for another day.
  • On the fifth day of heating, place your pickles in clean sterilized jars, pour hot syrup over them and seal with sterilized lids.
  • Place in a cool dark place and enjoy this coming winter.

Preserving Bread and butter pickles

These are much simpler and also taste delicious too.

  • Slice the washed cucumbers and place in large bowls to which you add coarse salt and ice cubes. Stir the mixture and let sit for 3 hours.
  • Drain and add sugar and spices. Most recipes call for mustard seeds, celery seeds, ground coriander, turmeric and a pinch of ground cloves. Here’s one reliable recipe if you don’t already have a family one.
  • Heat just to boiling and place in sterilized jars and seal with sterilized lids.

Preserving Dill Pickles

If you’re stuck for time, dill pickles are so easy.

  • Place washed smallish cucumbers into sterilized jars.
  • Add 2 to 3 heads of dill and a piece of alum
  • Pour boiling water, cider vinegar, and coarse salt to within 1/2 inch headspace and seal with sterilized lids. Here’s a good recipe if you don’t already have one.
  • Line up with the rest of your shiny jars for winter yummy.

Easy freezing of Tomatoes

I have found that just placing washed tomatoes onto cooking sheets and freezing is a simple way to preserve them for making spaghetti sauce later. When they’re frozen, place in freezer bags and put back in the freezer. They are ready to use for a quick and tasty sauce with loads of homemade goodness.

Hope you enjoy these few ideas for using your produce!