Happy Groundhogs Day!
Today is a great day, shadow or no shadow I am getting excited for spring! Brooke and I began talking about the garden this morning, and although it is still covered in snow here in Wisco we had a great time talking about what we will do in the garden this summer. Just this past weekend Travis and Brooke had walked the garden and began talking about things they wanted to grow. While Travis and I have a list a mile long of things on our want to plant list, Brooke is focused on berries, berries, and more berries! Her favorite thing last summer was to disappear into our raised beds of raspberries and blackberries, and if we didn't follow her out quickly our little Berry Monster would devour all the ripe berries each day. I suppose, who can blame her, home grown berries are seriously like little bursts of heaven in your mouth!
Last fall we did a little re-arranging of our berries. We built a 4th raised bed to add an extra patch of blackberries, and finally after 3 years of trying with blueberries we decided that bed was better used for growing more raspberries. I guess we will have to stick with going up to the U.P. near our family's Camp to pick wild blueberries in the summers. We are all excited though for the expansion of our raspberry and blackberry beds, yumm I can already taste the pies, jams, smoothies, parfaits, shortcakes, muffins, and the list could go on and on! Since we have BERRY BRAIN today we decided the perfect lunch would be a PBJ wrap with Mom's home-made raspberry jam and some home-made apple sauce that we made from our apple tree this fall. As you can see someone was really enjoying this taste of summer! :)
To make our home-made jams I follow the simple recipe that comes in the box with the CERTO liquid fruit pectin. You can get it at your local grocery store or in a 4-pack from Amazon delivered right to your door. :)
To make our home-made apple sauce it's even easier yet! All you need are apples and a crock pot. Peel and core your apples and then cook them down in your crock pot. On low it probably takes 6-8 hours, or on high around 4 hours. The longer you cook it the less lumps there will be in your apple sauce. And voila, you have delicious applesauce without any extra sugars or preservatives. I usually make quite a few batches every fall and store it in the freezer.
**To really make it smooth (like the store bought applesauce) I have pureed it in the food processor or the blender after it has cooked down.