Jams, jellies and apple butter.

This week I have been making jams, jellies, apple butter and chutney from the fruits of our orchard.  I didn’t have a recipe for apple butter so I just dumped and tasted until I thought it tasted like it should. This country is really blessed with fruits and vegetables.  There are hardly any insects which feed on the crops making it a pleasure to have a garden here.  The roadsides are full of berries and fruit trees as well.  Not to mention the abundance of mushrooms in the forest.  So far I have used the apples that have fallen to make my jams etc.  I am waiting a little while longer to pick some to store in the cellar.  These apples store really well.  Last year I still had apples in February from our tree.
 
I bottled my dandelion wine yesterday.  We tried a small glass of the new wine which we found not bad at all.  It will be better after it has aged for a few more months.  It has a hint of honey flavor.  It taste similar to a mead.  I put a little too much sugar in it and it remained a little sweet, but it has a high alcohol content to balance it out.  After I made the dandelion wine I found my hydrometer so the rest of the wines should be on the dry side.
 
I made a jar of sour kraut with my neighbor last week.  It is now stinking up my house.  I must keep it in a warm place for a couple of weeks before I can move it to the cellar.  It has already overflowed onto my floor.  What a mess.  The jar has a nice little tray under it but it wasn’t big enough to catch all the juice.  I now have it on a thick layer of newspaper and check it a couple of times a day to see if the newspaper is dry.  I think the worst is over because it is calming down now.  We made fifty pounds of kraut in all.  We were in three, I, Zdene and her daughter.  We had a good time at it.  Zdene has a canning kitchen next to her house so we didn’t mess up any of our kitchens.  Her canning kitchen has a concrete floor with a drain in the middle, so when we were all done we just hosed it all down.   
 
Wednesday, my neighbor called to tell me she was going to fire up her smoke house and for me to go buy some sausages to smoke.  We went at 7:00 a.m. to get the sausages and by 5:00 p.m. they were smoked.  Several of the women in the neighborhood brought over meat and sausages while I was there.  I set with them for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  There were ladies coming and going to pick up their smoked meats.  It was a pleasant day.
 
Thursday Zdene came over again at 7:00 to teach me how to cook Czech food.  We prepared a typical dinner of roast chicken, sour kraut, and potato dumplings.  GF was coming home Friday so she wanted me to have something special for him to eat.  It was fun to cook together.
 
GF got back from Italy and Remo left for Italy the very next day.  We are keeping the road hot between Czech and Italy.  GF brought back all kinds of goodies to eat. 
  
I still have lots of fruit to put up for winter as well as pumpkins and potatoes.  I am really happy with my success at growing winter squash and corn this year.  Yesterday I gathered all that remained out of the garden so I can lay the garden by for another winter.  I had plan to make another flower bed and plant some tulips but I have just been too busy with the vegetables and fruit to plant flowers.  I guess I will just have to put the tulips I dug up this summer in the cellar and plant them in the Spring.  
 
The leaves on the trees are changing colors.  It getting pretty fallish around here.  The weather has changed too and it is raining again. 
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