What To Do With An Abundance of Apples?

Oh, what to do with an abundance of apples? It has been the year of fruit here in Massachusetts. The trees are weighted down with peaches, pears and apples. There are so many that I’m receiving whole cases as gifts from people who have more than they can eat or preserve. So what to do with this gift from the trees (and from desperate neighbors)?

First of all, if you have your apples in a root cellar or cold storage, you have time to process. It’s not like tomato season!

Lehmans Single Tub Fruit Press

Just getting started in fruit pressing? The Single Tub Fruit Press is an ideal starter press. At Lehmans.com, or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Options abound. I have already pressed 120 pounds into cider. Next up will be canning. I want to do sauce but I also want to do pie filling. On a cold winter’s day, I can get away with a pot of soup for supper as long as I have a hearty dessert. I do NOT have a family that considers a bowl of soup supper otherwise. If the filling is sitting in a jar the whole thing takes minutes as I keep rounds of pie dough in the freezer waiting for the night I need a great dessert or a pot luck contribution. So let’s make pie filling today.

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Manage Your Homestead’s Food Supply Successfully

 

A LOT of just harvested garlic bulbs!

How do you process all this garlic? Dry some, crush some! Click for more info about Lehman’s super garlic press.

 

When you grow and raise a lot of food, one of the tricks to making it pay is managing the inventory. That means record keeping, not always my favorite thing but necessary if I am going to avoid waste.

Last month we harvested our garlic and it was phenomenal. I harvested 15o heads. That might seem like a lot but we are garlic lovers and I need enough to eat and to save for seed for next year. The biggest bulbs were pulled out immediately. The temptation is to eat those but that would leave me inferior seed. I put those heads away to plant in this month, and dry the rest to use throughout the year.

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The Mystery of the Teal Pumpkins

When you see this poster, you'll know there are safe treats!

When you see this poster, you’ll know there are safe treats!

I am not usually a bandwagon jumper. I like to go along with the crowd enough to fit in but I did not do the ice bucket challenge, succeed at posting 3 thankful thoughts a day or any of the other social media movements.

I tend to be practical, to take direct action, to try make the world a little better for others. So why am I in the craft store stressing about teal paint?

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) has launched a campaign to create an inclusive environment for food allergy children at trick or treating. They are encouraging families to paint a pumpkin teal if they are going to offer a non-food treat. (The poster is downloadable, by the way.) Continue reading

Michigan Apples Keep Judy Hustling

Bushel baskets available at Lehmans.com or Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio.

Bushel baskets available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

I was a busy bee over the weekend. Bought a bushel of mixed apples grown right here in Michigan, and made applesauce and apple butter. Sounds so simple with so few words, but it’s actually quite a lot of work, even though I significantly changed two labor-intensive steps.

I have a food press, one of those cone-shaped dealies with a wooden pestle. It’s hard work to press apples with their peels, cores, seeds and stems through it, and you’re constantly cleaning out the scrap. I also have an attachment for my Kitchen Aid that will separate the scrap from the apple flesh, but I didn’t want to dirty more dishes. Continue reading

Safe Classroom Snacks For Everyone

The school year is in full swing, and I’m trying to keep classroom snacks ready. With the holidays coming soon, I know that my children will be taking things in to share in the classroom.

At our house, we have multiple food allergies, so while I try to pack things for my kids on snack days, sometimes it is nice for other parents to know there will be something they can put together that my daughter can eat safely. A goal is a snack that’s easy to prepare, and not an obvious compromise for other children in the classroom.  Always check with the teacher or other parents to see what the needs in your child’s classroom are. Also always read the ingredients on the package yourself and share with others–if in doubt, keep the original packaging with the snack so it can be checked if needed. Continue reading

Backstage at Lehmans: Shelley’s Favorite Pumpkin Flavor In A “Brownie”!

Shelley at her desk in Lehman's creative department.

Shelley at her desk in Lehman’s Dalton office.

If you’re a regular reader of Country Life, you’ll know that Shelley Salsburey, part of our merchandising team, is a big fan of pumpkin. (We always have pumpkin treats in the office for her October birthday!)

Recently, she came across a new-to-her recipe for Harvest Pumpkin Brownies. And it sounded so good, I went right into the kitchen to make it! It’s a perfect treat, and it goes together so quickly. It’s ideal when you need a goodie for an impromptu get-together.

This recipe’s prep is super easy. The pumpkin that makes the brownies moist also makes the batter easy to mix. So using just a big mixing bowl, a wooden spoon and a whisk, the batter was ready in no time! Continue reading

How I Found Lehman’s!

Recently, one of our newest bloggers, Glynis, shared how she found Lehman’s. How did you find us? Share your story in the comments, please!

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From College Kitchen to Our Dinner Table

French Press Coffee Maker

Lehman’s French Press Coffee Maker is great gift for your favorite student. It’s easy to use and easy to clean.

Ah, the college years. Did we even realize how good we had it? New friends, exciting (or not) courses, free time, parental units probably far away, little responsibility – at least compared to full adulthood/parenthood. College was where I learned to love coffee, where I found out I had a gift for making my roommates laugh…and also where I learned to cook!

After two years in the dorms, subsisting on cafeteria food (which, I must admit, was actually pretty good) and Ramen noodles cooked in hand-me-down hotpots, my girlfriends and I signed the lease on a townhouse close to campus, where we would live until graduation. It had a full kitchen, so one of the first routines we set up after we all moved in was the dinner schedule.

Breakfasts and lunches, we decided, were free-for-alls, but dinners would be sacred, in a way. We all came from good solid families where sitting down for nightly meals was the norm, and I’m sure we all (despite our burgeoning independence) longed for some of that stable “homey” feeling. So we each picked a night, and began to cook for each other.

Like most students, we were all living on a shoestring budget (I got paid $2 per typed page of notes I took for a Psych 101 class – imagine that!) so our meals were simple, hearty and shall we say, sometimes quite creative. And sure, during finals week we threw the cooking schedule out the window and ordered in pizza. But interestingly, some of the same recipes we each came to be known for, I use to this day. In fact, the following three are still some of my “go-to’s,” – 14 years, one husband, two jobs and three children later. Enjoy – and send some good thoughts to your college roomies as you cook them. I know I do! Continue reading

“Bright” Idea: Storm Prep AND Adorable!

Feuerhand Lanterns from Germany in black, green, blue, yellow, red

Yes, they really are this colorful. I really love how the globe is held in too.

Well, it’s that time of year that I personally love. But I know that everyone isn’t a fan of blustery nights, and many of you dread the upcoming snowfalls.

Truth be told, I’m not a fan of the stormy weather, just the gorgeous landscapes that autumn and winter bring us. This year, I’ve made a change to my storm prep kit that I’ve been wanting to do for ages. Instead of more candles in jars, I added a couple of Fueuerhand Lanterns to my emergency kit.

Made in Germany, Fueuerhand Lanterns are quite possibly the absolute cutest emergency supply ever. At just 10.5″ inches high, with a 5 1/4″ inch diameter font (fuel tank), I love that these little darlings fit anywhere. They’ll burn for about 20 hours on a full font of oil. Continue reading

Fall’s Deep Cleaning Solution

Every season, we deep clean at our house. It’s mainly because I have allergies, and because we share our space with four cats. (Yes. It gets interesting.) One of the best cleaning “solutions” I use is one that my grandmother and my mother taught me: a solution of water, vinegar, and baking soda. It’s easy to make, and I put together enough for a day’s work–a couple of gallons all together. It doesn’t really “keep”, so make it every time you need it.

https://www.lehmans.com/p-4615-the-black-bucket.aspx

Inside or out, The Black Bucket does the hard work! At Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Generally, I make it in a plastic bucket. Granny always said not to use a metal bowl, because it might discolor both the paste and what you’re hoping to clean. Only mix this in plastic or non-reactive glass or ceramic.

It works well on hard plastics like porch furniture, outdoor toys, and pool toys too. We used it on vinyl screens too. Don’t use it on metal screens–the vinegar can promote rust! I speak from personal experience here…and replacing a few metal screens in my time. Continue reading