Saturday, October 31, 2009

Apple Cider Press and Crab Apple Recipes

Ever cut an apple crosswise? What a wonderful discovery. Apples have numerous medicinal properties including relieving indigestion, a vitality booster, stomach acid neutralizer and potent quercetin source. A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve provides an extensive historical, medicinal and culinary account of Apples and many other Plants. I think the most delicious apples are those happened upon outside. You may even have a few neighbors who leave their apples and are happy to share the crop with you the eager picker.

I recommend tasting your apples prior to picking so not to end up with alot of crab apples. Discovering this the hard way I still found a use for a 5 gallon bucket full of crab apples including: crab apple jelly and crab apple liqueur.

Even though, we are past apple harvest season in NW Montana if you were a diligent forager and picked your apples before the early October Arctic Blast and have them in cold storage-you're ready for some homemade apple cider. I, on the other hand, delayed my 2nd round of apple picking and am now gathering them for my compost-boohah (The first round transformed into copious amounts of frozen applesauce). No less my motivation for hard cider will not be deterred next year. Below are a few plans to smash your apples with. We're building the "easy jack" frame this year for next year's stash.

Beautiful but Welding is Involved

Here's Mother Earth News cider press

Easy Jack Press with No Instructions
I found another farm that has a modified cider press with jack that looks easier to build-see pic

Jack Press with A Little More Instruction

These cats also built a cider press with some wood and a jack. You get the idea on materials needed now

On to Recipes

Crab Apple Jelly

Large Stainless Steel Pot

4 lbs Crab Apples

4 Cups Organic Sugar

5 cups Water




  • Wash and De-Stem Crab Apples (slice tops off-to speed this up)

  • Dump into Large Stainless Steel Pot

  • Cover with 5 cups Water

  • Bring to a Gentle Boil for 10 minutes stirring frequently

  • Smash Apples

  • Gently Boil 1 more minute

  • Pour into Cheesecloth lined Strainer and Drain Over a Bowl Overnight

  • Reserve syrupy juice in the morning and compost apple mush

  • Pour Equal Amounts of juice and sugar into large stainless steel pot

  • Rapidly Boil 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves

  • Transfer to Sterilized Mason Jar and process following your pressure canner's instructions

Apple Liqueur

Wide Mouth Mason Jar

Crab Apples

Dried Anise Hyssop or Lemon Balm


  • Fill wide mouth mason jar with crab apples leaving room for herbs

  • Top with Anise Hyssop or Lemon Balm

  • Cover with Vodka and Seal

  • Store for 3-6months

  • Strain and Reserve Vodka

Sip and Enjoy during a Snow Shower

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Garlic Lemonade

For all you raw garlic fans-here's a delicous mellowed down version. Boosts the immune system is antiviral and decongests. We partake in a family glass once a week. Cheers!


Mason Jar

Half an Oranic Lemon Juiced

2 Locally Grown Garlic Cloves Minced (more for a stronger bite)


Combine all in Mason Jar and Pour Boiling water over the top. Steep till Cool.
Want to Grow Your Own Garlic?

Read "Planting a Year's Worth of Garlic" at our Squash Blossom Farm Blog. We were blessed with amazing fall weather this past weekend and got 544 cloves of garlic in the ground!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Toddler Winter Boots Rated -25

These kickers rate down to -25. I found these toddler boots a few weeks ago for $9 brand new at a local store! They were listed at and eye popping $45. I got a size larger to accommodate socks for my 15month old. These Winter Boots feature a rubber toe and surround, wool insert and pull string adjustment below the knee. They have great traction as well. I was looking for something he could walk around through snow in until it's too deep and we break out the snowshoes.

He wore them around the house here and there and have tried them in fresh snow and frozen ground since. We had our first arctic blast of the fall in early October. Normally, the Arctic Cold Air doesn't drift down till January or later. So we tried out these little boots, with no socks, a little earlier than normal. After running around outside for more than an hour his feet were toasty warm. He can now move up and down the hill in the backyard as he's adjusted to the new soles.

Children who are just beginning to walk and even for years after should really wear soft soled shoes. This is so they can feel the earth shaping under their arches, heels and toes. I have started a line of toddler soft shoes on my etsy page. Check out the funky soles!

With the cold and snow like it is here in NW Montana-we had to compromise with a boot more rigid and less permeable to the elements.

I like them so much I bought the ladies version. The price keeps dropping for those too! This is my fourth winter in Glacier Country and I know they'll get plenty of use. Regardless, I probably should read No Logo by Naomi Klein as I've been branded.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rosehip Honey

Well it's herbal making season in our kitchen amidst other fall harvest culinary adventures. My latest explorations are with Honey Extracts. Besides the herbal constituents that it pulls from herbs, local honey offers you allergy resistance.
This happens by bees visiting all your favorite nasal instigators (pollen). When you ingest the honey from local apiarist you are getting a small sample of exposure to your areas flowers and subsequently the pollen. This is similar to how Homeopathy works. Bees are critical to the survival of many fruits, vegetables and flowers. This is why NOT using insecticides is so important.
A Rose's fruiting body is known as the hip. Rosehips have up to 100X more Vitamin C than traditional food sources. They also contain Phosphorus, Vitamin A and Calcium. Vitamin C needs Calcium for adequate uptake in your system-Rosehips naturally carry this synergy.

The best time to collect is after a continuous frost for several days. So throughout fall and winter are ideal times to forage. There is something so tantalizing about hunting for red plump hips hanging low under the weight of fluffy white snow. Rose not only allures by smell but by sight.

Rosehip Honey Recipe

Wild Rosehips
Local Honey
2 Mason Jars

Forage in your favorite Fall or Winter Rosehips Retreat
Return Home and Fill One Mason Jar then proceed to Smash Berries with Fork
Pour Warmed Honey from other Mason Jar Over the Top
Cap and Store in a Warm Spot
Allow to Sit from 4wks-6wks

Helpful Extract Tips
*After pouring warm honey over mason jar of hips-stir with chopstick to release any air bubbles then add more honey
*I warm the honey by filling one mason jar with honey them placing in a warm water bath
*I also pluck the terminal end of the berry although this is not necessary

Add spoonfuls to your daily tea, take an exclusive spoonful or top waffles or toast with this scrumptious-immune boosting treat. If struck with illness take up to 8 spoonfuls a day to boost your immune system.

Rosehip honey rolled with slippery elm powder is not only soothing to a sour throat but irresistible candy for toddlers able to suck on candy.

Rosehip honey can also be stirred into warm tea for children over 15 months.

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