Friday, October 11, 2013

A new fall homegrown tradition

I have lived in San Diego my entire life…..and NEVER gone apple picking!

You would see things on the internet or in the news and it always seemed like it was basically one weekend and EVERYONE would infiltrate Julian, pick the apples and that would be it.  Turns out it is actually a few weeks long AND there are more things available than just apples. So I picked a day and off we went. We went to a pretty popular farm that used to be an apple pie farm, the way the price of produce shook out they could not even pay the labor for what a case of apples was going for.  So they sold the farm. The new owner switched over to organic practices and opened as a u pick.

Don’t get me wrong, the apple picking was fine. We were not huge fans of the variety of apples available that day but we were able to pick a bag of empire apples in no time.  The farm wasn’t too busy and was set up like a  winery, so it was pretty easy. After the whole drive to get there we wanted to explore a little more so we were actually going to go to the winery down the road when we spotted a sign for an organic pear orchard. So we drove in.

Now this place was DIVINE! There was one other family there when we arrived, rather than having someone standing there at the gate ready to take your money for a picking bag…. I had to go down to the other family there and ask them where they got their picking bag.  The answer… just go up to the house and yell if the dogs don’t tell them you are here. So that is what I did.  This farm used to be a Whole Foods supplier until they tried beating them up on the price.  He hung up on them, opened up his coolers and never picked another pear. Instead that is when they opened up for u pick. They have turkeys, chicken, goats, horses and a beautiful orchard.  They make goat cheese and fabulous goat’s milk soap.

With our beautiful pears I made a huge batch of dried pears, 3 full dehydrator batches. Pear Ginger Applesauce (this is a fantastic thing!) We juiced some with apples and ginger and they were amazing;  I made a big batch of Pear Butter and a lovely Pear Vanilla Jam.

So if you still have time head on up to Julian and be sure to hit the O’dells Organic Orchard. If you can’t make it now be sure to put it on the calendar for next year.  It is AWESOME!!!!!

this was when it was all steamy in the crock pot!
Pear Butter
8 lbs pears
1c sugar
1c water
3t cinnamon
½ t cloves
1t all spice

Peel, quarter, core pears. Put into a large pot. Add all spices, sugar and water. Bring this mixture to a boil then let simmer 20-30 minutes. At this point the pears should be a little soft.  Transfer the mixture to a crock pot and put on low for 4 hours. After about an hour or two grab a potato masher or immersion blender and get them a little smoother. Then just enjoy the smell, it will become super amazing and if you are not sure, leave the house for half an hour then come back in to smell deliciousness!

As you approach the 4 hour mark get your canning supplies ready and be sure to follow safe canning practices. This recipe will make just over 4 pints. I canned mine in 8 half pint jars and probably could have stretched it into 9, but instead I just put the extra in a bowl and we ate it!

Enjoy…once you taste it you will realize you are a genius ( I did the same thing) ;-)

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