Squishing Your Own (Apples)

The unique coloration of Gravensteins is easy to see here.

Standing majestically above the almost numberless benefits of living in rural west Sonoma County, California, is one’s proximity to the Gravenstein apple.  Considered an “extra early” variety, its season is early, finishing in mid-August.  Available in Green, Red and the more typical Yellow-Red-Green mottled hue, it is a fine apple for eating fresh, though its bright-tart flavor is not as sweet as the Delicious, the Macintosh, or other late season apples — and yet local boy Luther “The Plant Wizard” Burbank was of the opinion that “If the Gravenstein could be had throughout the year, no other apple need be grown.”

But it can’t be had; the Gravenstein will not “keep” for more than a week or three even in cold storage, and so it sees general use as a pie and sauce apple.  For cookery it is splendidly suited, as American soldiers in World War II discovered; the bulk of the applesauce and dried apples supplied to U.S. troops came from Sonoma County’s famed crop.  In fact until only recently the noble Gravenstein was the county’s signature fruit, that role now alas usurped by the hoity-toity wine grape.  These days only Nova Scotia in distant eastern Canada may claim the Gravenstein apple as a mainstay. Continue reading

Pick A Peck Of Apple Advice

Ideal for home use or small orchards. See other presses and supplies for apple pressing at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Apple season is upon us here in Ohio—but the first thing you need to do is find good apples! Although many farmer’s markets carry more than the ubiquitous Red Delicious, your best bet is to find a local orchard. Ideally, you want to be able to pick your own apples, so you can make sure you have enough for eating, pressing for cider, freezing, as applesauce, or for baking and pies. Continue reading

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What’s For Dinner?

It’s the question that sometimes causes panic or maybe even dread (especially if you have no idea what to make!) But no worries. We’ve compiled some easy and delicious recipes from Lehman’s employees using our all-natural canned meats. They’re fully cooked, which saves you time in the kitchen. Plus, they contain no artificial ingredients. Stock them in your pantry, and you’ll be ready for dinner! Continue reading

7 Common Meat Canning Questions

Sharon Peterson at simplycanning.com is one of our Facebook friends here at Lehman’s. She’s agreed to share her expertise on pressure canning meat and poultry. She and her husband are raising their four boys frugally in Western Colorado. We’re looking forward to working with her again! Continue reading

Soap’s Up: Soap Making With Kathy Harrison

This and other soapmaking books available at Lehmans.com and Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

On a brilliant early autumn day, I took a long drive through the hills of Massachusetts and into New York to get to Cold Antler Farm, Jenna Wogonrich’s tiny homestead.

She was presenting a workshop on soap making, a skill I really wanted to master. I was bartering a candle making workshop in the morning for the soap class. Might I just mention that if you plan to present a workshop you would be well-advised not to do one on candle making where participants spend a lot of time watching wax solidify (boring) when someone else is working with potentially exploding lye (exciting)? Continue reading

It’s Officially Autumn! How Do You Make It Great?

This and other almanacs are available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

It’s official, as of Saturday. We’re heading into autumn and winter. So say the astronomers, who noted that the fall equinox happened, for most of us, early in the morning of September 22. (Then again, who needs those fellas when you have the Old Farmer’s Almanac?) Continue reading

Make Your Own 101: Dried Herbs and Spices

With the coming of fall, cooks who avoided their kitchens during the hot summer will soon be reveling in their now-welcome coziness. Spices and herbs are essential for adding pizzazz to autumn dishes, and with a little know-how, you can make your own. It’s much more economical than buying ready-made seasonings, and it also allows you to control the quantity you preserve. Here are a few suggestions we’ve gotten from customers over the years:

Deluxe Mortar and Pestle Set

Deluxe Mortar and Pestle Set

NUTMEG and CINNAMON: Buy whole nutmeg and keep it in a tightly sealed jar. When needed, grind off a bit with a hand grinder or a fine grater. It tastes much fresher. This also works great with cinnamon sticks.

GARLIC SALT: To make garlic salt, peel garlic cloves and mince them finely, then put them in a food dehydrator set at 115°F. Or, spread them on a plate with screen over it and leave in the sun for a few days or until the garlic is completely dried. Grind dried garlic with coarse salt to taste using a mortar and pestle. Continue reading

Picking Copper–Going Strong Since 1874

The company’s original logo, still used today.

Here at Lehman’s, many of the products we carry are made by small, family-owned businesses.

Yesterday, we were pleased to introduce you to one of the newest of those businesses, Little Town Granola. Today, peek into the workshop at D. Picking & Company in Bucyrus, Ohio.

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Little Town Granola: A Family Business Makes Good

Aarica and Daniel Sohar of Little Town Granola.

First, grab a spoon, a bowl and some milk. Because by the time you’re done reading this, you’re going to be more than ready for a bowl of Little Town Granola.

A few years back, Aarica and Daniel Sohar decided that they really wanted to develop a business that would allow them to spend more time with their children. At that time, they were looking forward to their youngest son’s birth, and Daniel was working a full time job. Continue reading

Memories of Bean Season

We share lots of memories during our workdays. This was so great that Diane, our e-designer, agreed to contribute it to Country Life. Hope you all enjoy it as well.  –Editor

While my brother and I were growing up, my family always had a garden. For a long time it was a good-sized garden. My mom would can lots of things: green beans, peas, corn, beets, tomato sauce, tomato juice, and sometimes salsa.We would also go to a local orchard to get peaches and apples to can (and also make applesauce!)

This and other gardening books are available at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

As the years go by, the garden has gotten smaller and smaller. Mom found it easier and cheaper to purchase many of our canned goods. But still would grow green beans and corn for canning and freezing.

Recently my mom and I went out to my cousins’ place to relieve them of the overabundance of green beans. We took a bushel basket full of beans (and that was the tip of the iceberg for them!) We then went to my grandmother’s apartment in town to snap them. Grandma just had hip replacement surgery so for her to sit up and do something different than reclining was good.We sat there and did about two thirds of that bushel basket.

This guide to classic games is available at Lehmans.com and Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

As we were snapping, I remembered the game my brother and I would play with Mom as we would be working outside snapping beans. We played Who/What/When/Where/Why. Two of us would think of WHO or WHAT, for instance, and the remaining one would think of the why. When we put into a sentence, it always came up with something goofy or funny. Or at least it was to my brother and me. Who knows what Mom thought! At least it made the task of snapping all those green beans go much faster. As I talked about that, Mom looked at Grandma, and said, “Sounds familiar, huh?” Guess those games weren’t so original.
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