Baking an apple pie and Harvest Monday October 29, 2012

I have the Weather Channel on while writing today’s blog. Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on New York, with the worst to come tonight. I would assume that New England gardeners have put their gardens to bed already for the winter, but maybe not. Norma and Daphne, I’m thinking about you today in this storm.

It’s been a warm autumn here in southern California. I’m still getting fruit set on my tomatoes and bell peppers, and it has been too hot to plant peas and my other fall crops. So I’m now six weeks behind in planting my fall garden and am running out of things to harvest from my summer garden. But there were apples!

This week’s Granny Smith apple harvest provided just enough fruit for one pie.

This was the week that I picked the last of this year’s apple crop from my Granny Smith dwarf tree. We had poor fruit set this year, probably due to wacky spring weather. And that is what global warming is doing to us. Disconnecting and disrupting normal weather patterns and making weather even more unpredictable. The result is often poor crops.

Think about the prolonged drought in the Midwest this summer. The result was a poor corn and soybean crop. This will mean higher prices for those crops, which will translate into higher prices in 2013 for the meat animals that eat those crops. That includes cattle, hogs, lambs, and poultry.

I peeled, cored and sliced the apples and mixed them with grated lemon jest, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. That is the filling for the pie. The lemon was fresh-picked from one of my lemon trees. 🙂

I put the apples into an unbaked pie crust, topped it with a streusel topping, and baked for 50 minutes. Heavenly!

These are the ingredients for a wonderful pork tenderloin dish. The butternut is from my garden, but was not from this week’s harvest. We will be enjoying stored butternuts through the winter. No, the harvest from my garden is that tiny lump of brown stuff between the apple, butternut and organic brown sugar. That is GINGER!

I browned the pork loin in a skillet, then added it to the chopped apple in my solar oven pan.

I peeled and chopped the butternut and added it along with half of the red onion, sliced. I minced the ginger, about 1.5 tsp, and added it.

I soaked a half cup of raisins in 2/3 C red wine, added 1 T brown sugar, and the juice and zest from the orange. Then I poured that over the pork, apple, and butternut.

Cook the pork dish in a preheated solar oven for at least 3-4 hours at midday. Or you could use a crockpot.

This dish was something I just threw together with what was on hand. It came out so delicious that I plan to make it again this week. And by using a solar oven, I used no fossil fuel to cook it. One more tiny step in my battle against global warming.

Hey, look, my blog visitor counter is going to roll over to 200,000 today. It is at 199,999 here at 9:25 am.

The other dish I wanted to show you is this little lunch. I had a couple of not-so-attractive late fall tomatoes, so I diced them and added them to a can of vegetable beef soup. The crackers are Rosemary-Raisin from Trader Joe’s, along with their English cheddar cheese.

Harvest for week ending October 28, 2012


2.5 lbs Apples, Granny Smith

5.5 oz Lemon, Eureka


1 oz Ginger

1 oz Green Onion

TOTAL 3 lbs produce plus 5 eggs

If you had a harvest, visit Daphne’s Dandelions. To see how others are using their harvests, visit Robin at The Gardener of Eden. See the sidebar for links.

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a retired medical researcher, retired professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I wrote a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent for many years. I also supervised environmental restoration projects and taught at the Orange County Conservation Corps before retiring in the summer of 2016. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks. I am also dedicated to combatting global climate change.
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10 Responses to Baking an apple pie and Harvest Monday October 29, 2012

  1. Daphne says:

    Apples, butternut, and onions seem like a heavenly combination.
    And we ought to be fine here. In Massachusetts, it is the southern coastline of New England that will really get plummeted along with Cape Cod and the islands. We should only get 1-2″ of rain. The wind gusts (40-60 mph) will take some trees down I’m sure and take out the power in places, but we aren’t getting a full on hit like farther south. If the power goes out I’ll be fine. I’ve cleaned up the summer crops, but I still have plenty of fall crops out there. I did stake my kale. Hopefully my row covers won’t blow away. I think I’ve got them well tacked down.


    • Congrats, Daphne, you were my 200,000 visitor! I’m glad to hear that you are in good shape, storm-wise, because I’ve been worrying about you all weekend. Wish we could have just a little of that rain out here.


  2. Michelle says:

    I’m not a big pie fan but I make an exception for apple pie and yours looks fantastic – I love struesel toppings. And your pork dish looks delicious too.


  3. Norma Chang says:

    I should be your 200,002 visitor. I did lose power and cable services but am back to normal for now, will not be out of the woods until later today sometime tomorrow, my garden came through OK so far, thanks for thinking of me.


  4. Oh my, pork, apple, and butternut, sound simply divine! I still need to make my first apple pie of the season though, I’m falling behind!

    I’m so not looking forward to feed prices throughout the winter after the drought in the mid-west. Our organic feeds have already gone up 20%, and hay prices are climbing too. I dread to think what prices will be like by spring.


  5. Lucy Peerenboom says:

    Hi Lou Murray I am new to Huntington Beach from Tucson where I grew vegetables and found many organic varieties to plant in my garden. Can you help me? I cannot find organic plants or a community garden. I am very sorry that you are no longer writing your column- I would have really enjoyed it I am sure. I look forward to hearing from you. Liucy


    • Hi Lucy. I’m sorry that the paper chose to not run my column any more and replaced me with a boating column from Newport Beach. Oh well. You can sign up to get my blog by email for free. Armstrong Garden Center (Goldenwest at Slater) carries organic vegetables as does Home Depot. There is a community garden at Atlanta and Brookhurst, east of Brookhurst under the power lines. There is a waiting list but there is turnover every winter. It costs $10 annually to join the group, $100 deposit for a 15 ft x 20 ft plot, and a $100 per year lease fee that covers water and trash removal. No bathrooms. 😦 Google on Huntington Beach Community Garden and you should find it. I think the website is Not sure. Maybe .com. Good luck.


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