Free Apples! And a new food journey!
No one wanted the apples
The other week my husband came home with two bags of free apples. He had attended a conference, and lunch was provided. The lunch included green apples, and no one wanted to eat them. Who knows why, but the next day I found two grocery bags of apples on my counter.
I spent a day making apple butter, one of my favorite things to put on biscuits and toast. My husband cored and peeled tons of apples, and I cooked them until soft. Next I pressed the apples in a colander, keeping the mashed parts for later. We then cooked the creamy apple with sugar, cinnamon and spices until perfectly soft and tasty. There is no better perfume for the home than cooking apple butter. I filled my jars, and pressure-cooked them. Now we have a pantry full of apple butter. The extra mash that was left over went into apple cinnamon muffins for breakfast.
Another afternoon I cooked apple crisp, and we devoured that dessert in one day. I stewed apples as a side dish and saved the leftovers. The next day I saw a recipe for apple omelets, which seemed strange. I cooked it, and fell in love. I will eat this again. My last use for those leftover stewed apples was when I mixed them into cooked oatmeal for breakfast. I still have 3 lonely apples in a bowl, but I think I have run out of apple energy.
Oatmeal with stewed apples mixed in. Tasty!
I have been reading a book about food, how it travels so far across the country just to give us fresh raspberries in winter, tomatoes on our hamburgers all year long, and lettuce every day. The book is giving me a lot to think about in how we eat and shop, and I am thinking I want to be more of a locavore. I have friends that are vegetarians, friends that love meat or choose to eat raw fish. I am going to be a locavore.
One difficulty I face is that I am having trouble gardening here in my SC yard. I think my soil has too much phosphate in it. After all, I live near an area that had a phosphate mine, and a local road has phosphate in the name. When plants have too much phosphate in the soil the plants look healthy, grow well, and never produce the fruit. I get lots of lettuce, carrots, and some broccoli, but my tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and peppers never produce.
To be a locavore, and to eat more from a garden, I have to have a garden that produces. This is the problem to solve this season. At least now I can grow the lettuce and leafy foods. Another way to be a locavore is to visit the local farmers markets, and that is my plan for this year. Just like the windfall of apples we received last week, I will plan my meals and snacks around whatever we find at the local markets.
Another way to be a locavore is to support local businesses. I love my coffee, and if I have to I will walk all the way to Costa Rica to buy beans. Perhaps a less drastic plan is to buy coffee beans that are locally roasted. The beans grew somewhere else, but being locally roasted means the flavor is fresher, and not lost on the long trip north.
The best example of lost flavor is in the rosy red tomato. I have no idea how or why people eat mushy cardboard tomatoes. It has to be because these people have never tasted a right out of the garden, bursting with juice and flavor, warm from the sun, tomato. There is no better experience on this earth. Just ask John Denver who wrote an entire song about Home Grown Tomatoes.
The fine ladies that are giving me fresh eggs
Another free windfall we fell into has been fresh free eggs. I have been taking care of a friends chickens while he vacations on a large ship. Every day I let them out of their pen, feed them dried worms and move planters over so they can attack the bugs that scurry away. While they are enjoying the freedom, I take their eggs. As it gets dark they climb back into their roost, and cozily settle down for the night. I have looked in the roost as they settle down, and somehow they remind me of my family settling down in a tent when we camp. I guess it just looks cozy. Then, I take the eggs home and make omelets.
Food is good. It should be enjoyed, eaten as fresh as possible, and be recognizable as food, to steal an idea from another book. Enjoy!