4/17/09

FMIPW: It started with applesauce

My friend Deanna had directions for homemade applesauce on her blog. Since Deanna is *ahem* slightly more organized than I am, I figured it was one of those things that was out of my league.

One day, I found myself in possession of fifteen pounds of apples and decided to give it a whirl, only to discover that it is astoundingly easy.

You peel and core apples, chop them up, put them in a pan with about 1 oz water per medium apple and boil them for a few minutes. Then you throw them in the food processor and press the button. The hardest part is that no one wants to wait for it to cool off before eating it.

I also, about that time, discovered how easy it is to make jam in small quantities and realized that there must be a lot of things out there that are simple that clever marketing departments have made me think I must pay someone else to do.

Applesauce doesn't come out much cheaper when homemade, and I can't really tell a difference in taste, but it does solve a problem in our house: what to do with half-eaten apples. Now, instead of fussing at the kids and following them around with apples, tossing them or finding them in random spots around the house weeks later and in a less-than-pleasant state, i have a spot in the fridge where unfinished apples gather until I can get to them.

As I started making applesauce and jam, however, I was frustrated with all the parts of organic material I still was not using, especially since it coincided with time that I was going out to buy a lot of fertilizer and dirt for our garden. I was trying to figure out what fertilizer to use that wasn't going to kill us all but that would give our dirt an edge up.

I decided to enter the world of composting. Dowlan attempted to build a composter, but the time constraints he experienced were making me twitchy, so I bought one at Sam's Club for $39.00. In about six weeks, it is already half full. Multiplying that out in my head, I imagined the bulk all the completely useful food scraps I'd thrown in the landfill in the last few years and cringed a bit. Then I thought about all the mulch, dirt and fertilizer purchased and $39 started sounding like a serious bargain.

Our bottom layer of compost is just about ready to be used and, if it ever quits raining, I have the perfect occasion for use--my herb garden is still not planted.

And, by the way, the teeth are shiny and the hair is getting more manageable. I did follow a blog commenter and skip the baking soda on the toothbrush and find it much more pleasant. I'm now looking into making laundry soap and replacing lotion, but I haven't run out of those things yet. As soon as I do, I'll tell you the next step in Finding My Inner Prairie Woman.

7 comments:

Deanna said...

Ha, now you know the truth - I'm *not* more organized, it really is that easy. Although I was just dividing up the water called for in my "nine medium apples" recipe, so it's nice to know that 1oz rule, thanks!

Hey, what was your cost analysis? For organics, I'm figuring to make cheaper than buy at $1.48/lb or less on apples. Did you have a number you were going on?

Deanna said...

Oh and hey again, do you peel them? Because I took the cut slices (red apples) leftover from Sammy's party and used them without peeling, but when I didn't peel a bag of granny smiths I got complaints: "Those yellow bits are too sour".

Betsy said...

I am going to start composting as soon as we have our own house...

~Gretchen~ said...

deanna--i usually buy a 3 lb bag of (non-organic) gala apples for 2.89. my regular applesauce price has escaped my mind, but when i calculated based on finished product volume, making applesauce was only slightly cheaper.

i didnt know you could leave the peel on, though. that is more usable volume per pound. i'll have to try it next time. im a bit concerned that my excessively picky child might not go for anything that looks different from the norm.

however, since i've started using only the leftover apples and bruised apples, i figure anything i get out of them is more than i was getting out of them in the trash or under the bed.

i have also used kool-aid instead of water with fun results.

and betsy--you'll be amazed at how simple composting is!

Tracy said...

G, you want me to send you some laundry soap to try? It really is easy, but it would be a waste to buy the stuff if you don't like it.

I'm so impressed. I was thinking of composting, now I'm thinking of it even more!

Michele said...

My kids don't like store bought applesauce at all, so when I was making it, they loved that, especially my oldest. We cut our apple tree down though, so I haven't made it since.

The laundry soap is really easy. I make the powdered stuff, and I can't believe I waited this long to do it. It takes me about 7 mins total, including clean up!

I make #4 from this link (with Ivory instead of the stuff listed)

http://tipnut.com/10-homemade-laundry-soap-detergent-recipes/

We're also composting and gardening this year. I think you and I are on the same schedule for F(our)IPW.

~michelebows from cbbc

Kaley Ihfe said...

It's great to catch up on your blog, Gretchen! It's good to see you still have your sense of humor and energy while working so much! I do want to learn more about your composter sometime that you bought...