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Last week, I shared with you our latest apple harvest.  
 
My kitchen was filled with bags and bags of delicious, crisp, apples from my mother’s apple trees.  
(I don’t have any apples from my trees yet because they are too young).
 
I admit that I didn’t get to my apples right away.  So, they sat in my kitchen.  My granddaughter, Lily, had other ideas for the apples.
 
She would pick out a couple of apples from the bags.
 
 
Lily then brought them over to me.
 
And, proceeded to put them in my lap.
 
By the time she was done, I got the message she was trying to tell me….
 
It was time to start making some treats with my apples.
 
In the past, I would make homemade applesauce.   Once you have tasted homemade, the store-bought just doesn’t cut it.
This year, I was inspired to make something new.
 
 
How does Caramel Apple Jam sound?  
 
I found this wonderful magazine at the checkout lane (after I had glanced over the tabloids to get my weekly update on celebrity happenings 😉 
 
 
The magazine is a Better Homes & Gardens special publication devoted to preserving fruits and vegetables (I have seen it at Walmart and Barnes & Noble).  It is filled with jams, jellies, sauces and so much more.  I dog-eared half the magazine with recipes that I want to try.
 
Well, I decided the Caramel Apple Jam would be my first recipe to try.
 
 
The hardest part of making fruit jams is peeling and chopping fruit.  So, I finally got smart and asked my 15-year old daughter to help me.  
 
 
Chopping apples went so much more quickly with two people.  
 
Like applesauce, we cooked the apples and then put them through a fruit mill, which removed the peels and ‘mushed’ up the apples to the consistency of applesauce.
 
 
At the same time the apples were cooking, I made the caramel from white sugar.
 
 
Then combined the two, put it in jars and processed them with my boiling water canner.
 
 
The Caramel Apple Jam tasted so good that I made two more batches that are now sitting in my pantry.  It tastes great on toast or served warm over vanilla ice cream.  My husband likes eating it plain out of the jar 😉
 
 
With my leftover apples, I sliced them up and added flour, sugar, cinnamon and lemon and froze them.  I’ll use them later for apple pies, this fall.
 
How about you?  
What are enjoying eating from your garden this summer?

Besides eating hot dogs and watching fireworks this past 4th of July, I also spent some time picking apples with my daughter.  We use them to make applesauce.

 We grabbed some old Target(r) bags got to picking.

Believe it or not, the two apple trees at Double S Farms produce tons of apples and this was the last of many harvests this year. 

I have already made a batch of applesauce and my mother has been making apple butter like crazy.


 Some of you may be surprised to hear that apples grow in the desert.  Well, it is quite easy as long as you use a variety that needs low-chilling hours.  
Chill hours refers to the cumulative number of hours each year when the temperatures dip below 45 degrees.  In warm areas, you want to use varieties that have a low-chill requirement.
The apple trees on Double S Farms are the ‘Anna’ variety.  They are crisp, sweet and delicious.
  
As we got into picking the last of the apples, my mother’s dog, Addy, was on the prowl for any apples that we dropped, since she loves them.

You know what?  Apple trees are really the perfect size….

My daughter, Ruthie, was small enough to get into the smaller, interior areas.


While I could reach most of the apples up high.


Of course, apples taste best freshly picked, when they are ripe.  If you plan to store them for a while, it’s best to pick them a week before they are fully ripe. 
 After we finished picking, we had 4 large bags of apples. 

Perfect for making applesauce!
You can read my post about how I made applesauce here if you like 🙂


 
Have any of you picked apples from the tree before?
Or, do you enjoy cooking with apples?  
What do you make?
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For more information on what type of apples that do well wherever you live, check out this link.  Be sure to curse down a bit to see the listing of apple varieties state by state.

I have been very busy in both my kitchen and garden lately.

I have been busy preparing my San Marzano tomatoes for freezing so that I can use them in marinara sauce this winter.
On the other hand, we have been eating our fresh, sweet corn as soon as we pick it.  I usually cut it from the cob and lightly steam it.
I have also been busy making peach, plum and even strawberry jam.  This past weekend, I made some applesauce which I use for making special ‘Applesauce Spice Cake’.
I will share with you how I prepare my corn, tomatoes and jams in future posts.  But right now, I am getting ready to go to the doctor with my father-in-law, my husband, his sister and my mother-in-law.
My father-in-law is suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and he has a form that is moving very quickly.  We can see changes every week.
Both my mother-in-law and father-in-law have allowed us to be very involved with his doctor visits, which is both a privilege but is also very hard at the same time.
As the ‘in-law’ I am trying to do my best to be supportive to not only my father & mother-in-law, but also to my husband and his sister.  But, I am also having to deal with my own sadness.
Many of you will understand this as I have just recently come to realize….as often as we hear of people who are suffering from diseases and even those that are terminally ill, you never comprehend how truly horrible it is and how if affects not only the one who is suffering from the disease itself, but also those around them.
Last week, my son said that he can’t remember what his ‘Papa’s’ voice sounds like.  I am preparing for the time when my son realizes that his grandfather is going to die.
My hope and prayer is that he will live until early November.  Why?  Well you see, my daughter will be having a baby!  She is having a little girl and this is not only my first grandchild, but she will also be my father-in-law’s first great-grandchild and he is so excited.
I am so thankful that throughout this time of sadness, that there are also things that bring joy to my life, including my garden and most especially a new life 🙂