Taking a trip to Mother Nature’s grocery store

Many of us outdoor types enjoy taking advantage of all nature has to offer. When it comes to food produced by the outdoors, we commonly think of hunting and fishing, but gathering and gardening are a big piece of the puzzle, too.

The outdoors provides a tremendous bounty for those willing to get their hands dirty and do some work. I take advantage of all that nature has to offer. There is always hard work involved in the attempt to sustain life. When it comes to outdoor provisions, gardening is the most time consuming and labor intensive. There is so much to be done, and many ways all can be lost. You must treat your garden as a baby in the early stages. In the latter stages you have to mind it to make sure it doesn't get into trouble. There are bullies around every corner, but also things that can be done to ward them off.

Other than hunting and fishing, I attempt to reap of all the bounty provided by our natural environment. One of my favorites is apples. Every year that we have a heavy crop, I get out and collect as many as I can put away. We typically make three different preparations that can be canned, along with dried slices. Several years back, my mother had a daycare service in our home. One of the favorite activities of the children was making homemade apple sauce. I would ride my ATV to the orchard and load up a high-walled sled. I would then drag them home where they were dumped into a large water drum. The kids and my mother would wash them and put them into buckets. I would start quartering them up, to prepare them to be boiled. They would be put into a large stainless pot with water. You could get about eight pounds of apples in the container. After being boiled for about 10 minutes, they become soft enough to be strained. The kids enjoyed the straining process the most. Back then, we had the old cone-style sieve that took forever to remove the seeds and skins. We could only process a few jars per straining. The kids asked for it every day until we would run out. They now have a hand crank model, that separates everything – seeds, skins and the sauce. You can easily process a few gallons per straining. There is nothing like fresh apple sauce with no additives or preservatives.

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