One GRITS Journey To Convert Beloved Southern Recipes to Paleo Approved, and Darn GOOD too!

This is my story of how I am striving to change my family's life, nutritionally, for the better. Here in the deep South Paleo is a foreign word. No one has heard of it, and gluten free is really almost as unheard of...
After reading Gary Taubes enlightning GOOD CALORIES, BAD CALORIES I was determine to change! Armed with my own two hands, the internet (thank God for, and all those wonderful blogs and podcasts available now, I am beginning my journey.
Please feel free to join me as I try to adapt all of our Southern Favorites into Paleo Appropriate Scrumptiousness!!! (and all Gluten Free) I will try to post all of the good ones, and may even blog about some failures along the way.

25 September 2012

Puppies and Apples

Well I took a little trip to Kentucky this weekend to pick up the sweetest little doggie with my friend.  

Meet Harrison

Of course on the way home I just HAD TO stop at a roadside Apple Stand for fresh apples.!!!!
and since it was me, this meant bushels and bushels, and of course some fresh Cider as well!

Hamilton and Izzy playing- aren't they the cutest

So this week will not only be training two puppies but canning apple sauce, apple butter, and why not throw in some pumpkin butter as well????

So this will be a three stepper folks. 
1. How to make the bestest ever applesauce.
2. How to make apple butter.
3. How to make pumpkin/apple butter.
(by the way, did you know that its not safe to can pumpkin butter??? I did not and I am bummed, guess I will give it away now as little impromptu gifts so it can be used up in the next few weeks out of the fridg... Bummer. but it sure does taste and look awesome!)

(and of course how to can and or freeze each of the above)

Are you ready? This is another of my Easy Peasy Recipes. I PROMISE. I have found that the easy route the correct route actually produces the best flavor AND the best color!!!!!
Lets make applesauce first.
    •  Roughly chop up your apples. Yes you heard right, seeds, cores, peels and all!!!--just use how ever many you need to fill up your crock pot to the top, or your dutch oven if going stove top route)
    • Throw those apples in the crockpot/dutch oven.
    • Add enough apple cider to cover bottom of crock pot. ( for my large crockpot I used like 1 cup cider)- 
    • Add 1 Tbsp Cinnamon (more to taste), I also added 2 cinnamon sticks (omit this step if you just want plain applesauce) BUT WHY WOULD U????
    • Turn crockpot on low and let that baby go all day (can do 4-6 hours, but if you leave it longer its just fine). 
      • if using dutch oven put it in the oven at 200 degrees, stir when you think about it or even let it go overnight in there.
    • Now get out your handy dandy Food Mill and use the largest size filter, add all that apple goodness, working in batches and process through the Food Mill. When you are finished processing all of your apples you will have your finished product- 
CONGRATS, you just made HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE!!!! for the adventurous you can now proceed to turning some or all of this goodness into APPLE BUTTER, or stop here and go straight to canning instructions.
Apple Butter-

(yes, there is no butter in apple butter, but it gets thick and spreads like butter....hence the name)
- just a quick note, you CAN make applebutter stove top, but WHY??? way to much time stirring and checking temp and tending..... please go the easy route and use a crockpot!!!!!!----
  • Place your applesauce into your crockpot filling almost to top. Add 1 TBSP cinnamon, 1 tsp clove, 1 tsp allspice (these amounts are all to taste).
  • if you must, add sugar or splenda to taste- I think with fresh mountain apples there is NO NEED for this, but if you must.... people say like 2 cups....
  • Set crockpot on low and let it go for atleast 8 hours, I usually prefer like 16. Stir when you think about it.... 
  • NOw you will have reduced the amount by about half and its getting thicker. Add more applesauce to almost fill pot again. Leave lid ajar and continue cooking until you get APPLE BUTTER....

- You know you have reached apple butter stage when it is completly thick and when you put a spoonful on a plate there it sits, like butter, no runnyness..... again hence the name APPLE BUTTER!-

Step One- 
Gather ingredientsjonagolds for canning applesauce
-of course sterilize your jars ( i just run mine through a sterilize cycle in the dishwasher)-
place your lids  in a pan of water that iis just under a boil for 5 min, then just let them sit and rest at a simmer till ready-
-just simply wash rings with hot soapy water and set to side on clean towl
-Basically just get all of your tools ready and make sure all are very clean -
this is the kit i use

Step Two- 
Fill water canner with enough water that it will cover your jars by an inch or so.

Make sure applesauce is at a boil (15 min in crockpot with lid on should get you there)Ladle sauce into your jars via funnel leaving 1/4 inch head space.
Wipe each jar clean with a damp CLEAN washcloth.
Place lid on each with lid wand thingie.
Place screw top on each and turn till secure, but not too tight.
Step Three-
Put them all in the water bath, making sure none are touching and follow directions on canning for where you live.
 See below chart:
Recommended process time for Applesauce or Apple Butter in a boiling-water canner.
Jar Size  Process Time at Altitudes of
0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Half-pints or Pints 5 min 10 15
Quarts 10 15 20
 Step Four
- Take each jar out using your jar grabber thingie that comes with the canner kit. Place them gently on the towel you have laid out and make sure they are not touching. Leave them alone for atleast 12 hours, I tend to do 24.

NOW YOU ARE DONE!!!!So......
Feel so proud- you just made applebutter from scratch, it looks so pretty, tastes so good, and everyone will be so impressed when you give it as gifts!!!! 
(it will be our little secret that this took almost zero actual hands on work time!!!!!)

-or put them up, or perhaps use some tonight over some pork chops??????

additional thoughts:
-You can skip canning and just put in fridge and eat within 2 weeks.
-You can freeze in freezer bags and if you use Food sealer they will last years.
-You don't have to have a canner- you just need a big enough pot to hold all and something to set in the bottom so jars are not touching the bottom of the pan ( so water can circulate).
- I tend to just use my pressure canner as a water bath canner  by just not closing the lid tight
-also, just food for thought--if you go this route and use every part of the apple and then food mill it into a puree you get to keep all those vitamens and minerals that you would loose if you peeled and cored it before cooking- See sometimes the easy way IS the PERFECT way!-

do exactly the same thing as Apple Butter but when you add the apple sauce to the crockpot also add one can of organic pumpkin puree... WALAA!!!!!
 -----just freeze this for later or put it in the fridge and use it in the next two weeks------

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