Hello and welcome to Oh, Apple Tree! I’m Elysa – a somewhat nerdy soul with a passion for growing and cooking with fresh ingredients, and making the most of seasonal bounty. I live, cook, and garden in the Western half of New York State (zone 5b) with my husband and our two little girls. We live in town right now, but we bought some beautiful nearby acreage, and we’re fixing up the old farmhouse that came with it with hopes of moving in early this summer. I spend my days cooking, cleaning, training up children, managing the house, gardening, creating, researching, blogging, and fighting the forces of chaos. (Sometimes I even win!)
I grew up in the kitchen, but I knew almost nothing about how the food I cooked with was grown, raised, or processed, and even less about how to do those things myself. I spent the first few years of my married life pouring through books and websites, learning everything I could about growing and preserving my own food.
I made a lot of mistakes. My first attempt at a garden produced one small handful of snow peas and an even smaller handful of absurdly stunted carrots. I poured so much love into that garden. But unfortunately, not so much knowledge.
So I learned. And learned some more. And kept on researching and trying, learning along the way not just to grow food, but to think differently about the food I grew, preserved, and cooked with. Previously, I had just gone to the store and bought whatever I felt like cooking with. I gave no thought to whether certain produce was in season or not, or to the fact that pigs are not made entirely of bacon. But as I began to grow more and more of the produce our family ate, and as we we started buying meat in bulk from local small farms, I started thinking of cooking in terms of making the best use of the bounty we already had.
I began to search out and create recipes that were seasonally-focused. Summer recipes that used the fresh, delicious, overflowing abundance of whatever was ripe. Winter recipes that used long-lasting storage vegetables and home-preserved produce. Recipes for the baked, canned, dried, and fermented staples that get us through the long winters and make our whole year more delicious.
I started Oh, Apple Tree! with the goal of sharing some of those recipes, as well as sharing the techniques I’ve learned for growing and storing high-quality organic produce. Over the years, I’ve found lots of good cooking blogs, and a few (but not enough!) good sources of detailed gardening information, but hardly any sites that covered both areas well. Oh, Apple Tree! aims to help fill that void. I think that gardening and cooking were meant to be intimately connected and that each is meant to inspire and guide the other. I hope the recipes and information here inspire you too.
Enjoy your food!
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