Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Black Welsh Sheep, Apple Pie & Salad Dressing

Two weeks ago our family made our annual apple picking trip. I always forget how quickly this goes - within 20 minutes of being among the trees we had picked over 100 lbs. of apples. Yikes. I've been busy making apple sauce, apple pie filling, apple crisps and apple bread. Next year I will remember that 60 lbs. (or two and a half bags) will be just fine for our family.

Luckily the orchard we go to has some other fun things to do, aside from the actual picking. There's a pond to visit, various paths to explore, and grape, raspberry and blackberry vines. They also have sheep! A beautiful herd of Black Welsh Mountain Sheep to be exact.

I purchased this skein directly from the owner of the orchard, who also raises the sheep. It was locally spun at the Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill. The girls and I had been petting the sheep that this yarn came from just 10 minutes before - they thought this was pretty cool. It was also affirming to meet the woman that produced this yarn. She only sells her yarn at the orchard - if you are interested you can get in touch with her at Door Creek Orchard. She has a variety of undyed colors and yarn weights.

Yes, that's right - this yarn is undyed. This perfectly black color is straight from nature. As a knitter that is typically drawn to color and dyed yarns, using this black will be a first for me. I'm excited however. "Natural is the new black," I was saying all weekend. In this case, that is completely accurate.

I have slowly been working through our apples. This year I tried apple pie filling. I can't remember which blog I got this link from, but it was a great starter recipe. It gives complete directions, with photos. I also like the recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I found my Clear Jel here.

Lastly, I've been obsessed of late with making salad dressing. Not only does it taste WAY better and fresher than store-bought, it gives my girls something to do; something to head off the 5-minutes-until-dinner-and-I-don't-know-what-to-do-while-I-wait whining session. I fill up a jar with the ingredients and give it to them to shake-shake-shake. I found a ton of great recipes in Sara Foster's Casual Cooking and Lorna Sass's Complete Vegetarian Kitchen. Do you all make your own dressing? What are your favorites?


Little C and Little J said...

Good idea with the dressing! Love your apple projects, I need to learn more about prepping pie filling, that sounds gorgeous. One of our favorite dressings is a maple/poppy seed dressing from the Cooking for the Whole Family cookbook. Light and sweet with just enough vinegar bite. Enjoy the apple mania and the yarn, it's lovely.

Holly Jo said...

Love the yarn! That is pretty cool to think that perfect black came straight from mother nature.

I was *so* on that website today that you linked about the apple pie filling. What a fantastic idea! 100 pounds of apples is a lot of apples. :)

I'm sorry - your kids eat salad? I don't make ours because I can't get through it fast enough. I will definitely check out the recipe book you listed.

fivegreenacres said...

Yum. Our favorite dressing is some good olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari, minced fresh garlic, fresh ground pepper and maybe some grated parmigianno. The ingredients are listed hierarchically by qty.
It's our favorite and our regular dressing!

Amy said...

Those last five minutes are the toughest - my boys act like I'm never going to feed them!f