The Dog Days Are Over

I am a four-season girl – and as long as I have on the right gear, any day, any weather is a good day to be outside.  But I am feeling a bit melancholy as the dog days of summer come to an end.

The nights are getting chilly (it was 51° here this morning), we have the solar cover on the pool to retain some “heat” (the water temp has dropped from 80° to 74°), the sun has started to set before 8:00 PM, the field grasses are drying and will soon be hayed, the cornfields are ready to be harvested [although not our field – it was planted a month late this year], the leaves are starting to change, and although I am still picking blackberries [what a berry season we’ve had this year – I started picking strawberries mid-June, followed by red and black raspberries, immediately followed by blackberries – two solid months of berry picking and there are still more to pick], I have started making apple compote from our fruit trees.  I plan to make more apple compote and can it for the winter, as well as pear compote once they start to fall from the tree.  Compote is good straight out of the jar, or heat and serve with whipped cream or ice cream, mix in nuts & raisins if you like, or use it as the filling for pie or crisp, etc.

Apple Compote

2 cups water
1 cup red wine
1 cup brown sugar
2 TBS finely chopped candied ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
[you could also add lemon or orange zest, or use fresh ginger, cloves, peppercorns, etc.]

Apples [I didn’t weigh here, but I used approx. 4 lbs.]

In a large saucepan heat first five ingredients until sugar is dissolved.  Core and slice apples [I left the skin on] and add to saucepan.  Toss for maybe 10 minutes, until apples start to absorb the liquids.  Remove fruit with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Continue to cook and reduce liquid until it starts to get a bit syrupy.  Poor over fruit and either serve, or allow to cool.  Store in mason jars in the refrigerator, or, follow canning instructions and enjoy all winter long!

Pear Compote
Instructions are similar to above, but the ingredients for this compote are pears, sugar, white wine, vanilla bean and grapefruit zest.

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