Applesauce

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For a good 10 years every September, my fathers side of the family would get together at my Grandparents house in Sandusky, Ohio and go apple picking. This orchard (never did get the name of it, I was too young to care) was run by one man. He always had everything you needed from large buckets to fill with apples, long rods to grab apples high up in the trees and bags to have something to take your apples home with you. This man just recently a couple years back sold his orchard because he just got too old to run it on his own. Sadly my family never goes there anymore I guess because were all older as well and just never make the time to do so.

When we did go apple picking, we would literally come back with 20+ bags filled with apples. I would guess a good 50 pounds. We split all the apples up between the 5 families and everyone still walked off with at least 10 pounds. What is one to do with so many apples? Yep you guessed it bake apple everything!! My favorite recipe out of the apple section would be my Aunts apple crumb pie…but I’ll share that one with you in another post.

I was over my Grandmas last week and she had an abundance of apples she needed to use up so I helped get rid of them by making applesauce. If you love applesauce I highly recommend you buy a bulk amount of apples now while they are in season and on sale and make a large batch of applesauce. You can freeze it in large plastic baggies and pull whenever you are ready to use it. This is great to pack in lunches, or to snack on during the day and makes an excellent side dish with pork!

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Gluten Free/dairy Free/Vegan/Refined Sugar Free

Mise en Place:

-3 to 4 pounds (roughly 10 Ea) Apples, peeled, seeds removed and sliced or diced however you choose. (I prefer to use red apples such as macintosh)

-Zest from 1 Lemon and juice.

-2 Cinnamon Sticks

-1 Cup Brown Sugar

-1/2 Cup Water

-1/2 Teaspoon Salt

 

Method of Prep:

-Place all ingredients in a small sauce pot. stir to combine everything.

-Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes or until apples are soft.

-Remove cinnamon sticks. Using a masher, mash up apples to desired consistency.

-Taste and adjust sweetness/spice if desired.

-Store in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator up to 1 week or keep frozen in plastic bags until ready to eat.

Enjoy!

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Pickled Beets & Onions

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This time of year, I always find myself pickling a lot of fruits and vegetables. (Currently I’m experimenting with beets and onions.) Last year I infused vodka a few ways and this year I’m looking to go a different direction and infuse gin. My first attempt is going to be a pickled beet gin hence why I’ve begun pickling beets, more on that later. Moving forward, I’m doing a combined post with the pickled beets and onions for the reason that they both use the exact same ingredients and measurements…I just pickled them separately. I have a few recipes that will be posted down the road using each of these pickled vegetables, until then you can use the beets and onion on top of salads!

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Mise en Place:

-2 Cups Red Wine Vinegar

-2 Cups Granulated Sugar

-1/4 cup Salt TT

-2 Bay leaves

-10 Black Peppercorns

-1 Teaspoon Fennel Seed

-1 Red Onion, Julienne thin OR 4 Beets roasted until soft (Approximately 45 minutes @350 degrees) and peeled.

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Additional Tools:

-1 Pot

-Mason Jar or other pickling jar

Method of Prep:

-Over medium heat, stir sugar into vinegar until dissolved. Add in spices and bring to a boil.

-Place vegetable of pickling choice into picking jar. Once vinegar has come to a boil, cook for and additional 3 minutes and pour over vegetables.

-Let liquid cool to room temperature. cover with a lid and place in refrigerator for up to 2 days before using.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Sauerkraut

If you couldn’t tell by the last name (Gresbach) I have a good amount of German ethnicity in me. Although I don’t have any first or second relatives from Germany I do if you were to dig back over 100 years ago to my Great great grandfolks who are from Crov, Germany. I guess I’m only about 20% German but for me that’s enough to at least relish my heritage and get creative on the food of that culture.

My dad is very big on German foods such as sauerkraut, potato salad, and of course German beers. I’ve eaten more than you could imagine possible of sauerkraut during my time and love it more everyday. Now that I’ve fallen in love with infusing liquors, pickling fruits and vegetables, and canning jams, I wanted to begin the fermentation phase of food and beverages. The easiest food fermented item for beginners is the making of sauerkraut. If you are for the most part not a fan of sauerkraut you should try making it at home. It might change your life. This is a simple recipe that just requires salt and time. I was counting down the weeks until it was finally time to eat the kraut and boy oh boy is it good.

Active Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 3 Weeks

Ingredients:

-1 Head of cabbage, finely shredded

-2 Tablespoons Salt

-1 or 2 Containers to ferment cabbage in

Preparation:

Toss cabbage and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Begin to squeeze the salt and cabbage together using your hands, kneading it thoroughly to break up the cellular structure of the cabbage.

-When the cabbage has become limp and released its juice, transfer it to a container you wish to ferment in.  Pack the salted cabbage into the container as tight as you can, eliminating air bubbles. Continue packing until the cabbage is submerged in its liquid.

-Cover loosely and let sit at room temperature, undisturbed for at least 3 weeks. You can test it every day until it reaches your liking. I recommend 3 weeks to get a stronger sour bite that sauerkraut contains.

-When finished transfer container to the refrigerator and hold in there for up to 6 months.

Enjoy!

**Notes:   The real key to preparing homemade sauerkraut, and any fermented food, is that the solid materials rest below the liquid. Fermentation is an anaerobic process and to expose your ferments to air increases the likelihood that they’ll become contaminated by stray microbes, yeasts and molds. (Source)

Some of my favorite additions to sauerkraut that make it super tasty is:

Caraway seeds + bacon= Cook 2 strips of bacon, set aside. Add in 1/2 cup sauerkraut, and 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds to bacon fat from pan. cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Chop up bacon and sprinkle on top.

Sauerkraut + hot sauce + spicy mustard= Smother this mixture on top of a grilled hot dog!

Sauerkraut + Bratwursts + German beer or Belgian beer= Grill a few brats, top with sauerkraut and flush it all down with a light German beer or my favorite Belgian beer: Chimay.

I’m also working on a kimchi recipe that will come out in the near future. 🙂

Peach & Onion Chutney

I’ve fallen in love with canning and preserving. Mason jars are taking over the little bit out cabinet space I have but its worth it. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try canning something you should give it a shot. My suggestion if your new to this process is to start small. A simple beginners project would be making pickles. Pickles contain only a few ingredients and unless your planning on preserving them for months they are ready to eat within several days. Plus it requires little equipment, just a stove and mason jar! My pickle recipe is easy and great to try if you’ve never make pickles before.

Aside from pickles I’ve been exploring other ways of canning and preserving food. Making jams is also a simple task and will hold in the freezer for when your ready to use. I’ve never make a chutney before so I figured now would be a good time to try. Nothing makes snacking on some crackers better than having a dip, spread, or even chutney to add flavor and texture to your tiny meal. This is a delicious chutney that goes excellent with crackers, or can be used on top of proteins such as pork and chicken. If I’m craving something sweet I will turn to this chutney instead of ice cream. There is a great balance of sweet and acidity from the vinegar and it makes the perfect appertif before a meal.

**Note: You can substitute any fruit for this recipe.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 2 Hours

Ingredients:

-3 small Yellow onions, julienne

-3 peaches, peeled, cut small dice

-2 cups sugar

-1 Cup Apple cider vinegar

-1 Cinnamon Stick

-3 Cloves garlic, minced

-Salt and Pepper, TT

Method of Preparation:

-In a large sauce pot, sauté garlic until golden brown.

-Add in onion and cook until translucent. About 3 minutes stirring constantly.

-Add in peaches, and sugar. Stir until sugar is mostly dissolved in peach juices.

-Deglaze with vinegar then add in cinnamon stick.

-Season with salt and pepper, taste.

-Let cook until reduced on medium heat, approximately 2 hours. Stir often.

-When reduced to the consistency of a jam, pour into a jar of your choice for storing.

-Let cool at room temperature. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pickles!

Since I was 8 years old I’ve been in love with pickles. Honestly, I’ve never liked bread and butter pickles, they’re too sweet for my liking. I’ve always preferred  pickles that are acidic and salty making me a dill pickle gal all the way. The strong garlic, salt, and dill flavor keeps me salivating for more. My mouth waters just thinking of them now. In case you were wondering I would also drink the pickle juice. Many folks think that’s disgusting, personally I think it’s delicious.

I stopped buying pickles when I was in college. There wasn’t any reason why I guess I just grew out of always wanting to buy them. Eventually I started making my own because lets be honest, its quick to do and effortless. I enjoy adding dried red chiles into my pickling liquid for a nice kick. Please try this recipe it’s one of my favorite things to snack on and its delicious!

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients:

-1 Each Cucumber, sliced 1/8 inch thick

-1 Each Garlic clove, sliced thin

-1 Cup Sugar

-1 Cup White Distilled Vinegar

-4 Each Peppercorns

-2 Each Parsley sprigs

-1 Each small Rosemary Sprig

-2 Each Dried Red chiles

-1 Mason Jar

Preparation:

-Combine sugar and vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

-While pickling liquid is cooking, place all other ingredients in the mason jar.

-Pour hot liquid into mason jar covering cucumbers and aromatics.

-Leave the lid off and set at room temperature for 1 hour before putting in the refrigerator

– Make sure liquid is completely cool before placing lid on the jar. Hold in the refrigerator for 24 hours before eating.

Enjoy!

**Note: Pickles will float to the top of the jar. To keep them submerged in the hot liquid, make a ball out of plastic wrap and place on top of pickles until ready.