Caution: this post is not about sailing. It’s not even about boats except tangentially. This post deals with a subject dear to Steve Yoder’s heart: food. So far, I’ve avoided writing about food because there have been so many other things to write about. But since we’ve hit a lull in the actual ‘sailing’ department due to the usual weather (read: rain) in the late fall in this part of the country, my thoughts turn to how I’ve been filling my time and that’s how the title of this post was born.
Late fall is apple time around here and my neighbors have an apple tree that bore an amazing abundance of fruit this year. I also have a crab apple tree that has never seen a better year than this one. I could not let this nature’s bounty go to waste, so out came the canning supplies.
It’s a little bit of a shame to pick them because they look so pretty on the tree.
My neighbor and I had made applesauce at her place the night before and in return for my help she gave me a huge box of apples from her tree, so I was in the mood for canning. At the end of the day, I had many jars of pretty fruit we can eat all through the season. I made Pickled Crabapples, Crabapple Jelly, Applesauce sweetened with stevia and spiced with Chinese Five Spice (which I discovered tastes AWESOME on apples) and my own invention of Crabapple Jalapeno butter. I’ve included some recipes for those who have bumper crops of apples or crabapples of their own.
Not bad for a day’s work.
In much of the reading I’ve done about voyaging, canning is one skill that comes up often, especially in books that are older. People eat food all over the world, so I don’t think sailing vagabonds still have to can their own food in preparation for a voyage. But there’s no reason I can’t put some of this stuff on Moonrise now. We use our boat as a little getaway whether we leave the dock or not. I like to keep it stocked with food that will keep a long time, even in the winter. That way if mother nature throws us a curve ball and we need to use the boat as a safe shelter (like if a tree is on our house) we are set to go.
Here are some recipes I used. Isn’t the interweb wonderful?
And here’s my latest creation, which is sort of like a recipe.
Melissa’s Crabapple Jalapeno Butter
You make this with the pulp you have left from making the Crabapple Jelly. It just seems like a waste to throw all that crabby appley goodness away.
First, using the cutting blade on the food processor, process the pulp to a fine paste. Add a little apple juice or water to the pulp to make this easier. You will find that the food processor leaves the seeds intact, as well as the hard pieces found inside the apple core. Next you want to remove these pieces. Process the pulp through a sieve. If, like me, you don’t have a sieve, you can use a hand held wire strainer. Using your fingers, just press the pulp through the strainer and use a spoon or spatula to scrape the sieved fruit off the bottom. It’s messy and fun and you’ll be left with what looks like baby food applesauce. That’s what you want.
This kind of strainer works just fine. Just use fingers to push the pulp through the strainer.
Add sugar to this, to taste. Add a little lemon juice as well, again, to taste.
Add chopped fresh jalapeno peppers. I use the food processor to chop mine, leaving some of the seeds for extra heat. How much you add depends on how hot you want it. We like peppers, so I added three large jalapenos to about 1.5 cups of pulp.
Now you want to cook this down until it’s thick. Make sure you have added enough liquid so that you will not burn the stuff. You should be able to stir it fairly easily but make it more like porridge than like soup. Cook it on medium heat until it’s about 220F, which should allow it to set up a bit. It’s not jelly so don’t worry too much about this. Just cook it down until you like how it looks and it will stand up to spreading on your choice of carbohydrate.
If you want to can this for the future, use the general guidelines for canning jelly.
I’m imagining this fruit butter served with sharp cheese, like a good sharp cheddar, and some decent crackers. Yum! Oh and wine. There should be wine. If I keep some of this on the boat, I’ll be ready for any social occasion!