November 12, 2010

Apple Factory

On Sunday the kids and I made an impromptu visit to one of the local apple orchards. My intention was to pick a few apples. Just a few. We weren't dressed for apple picking, not shoe wise or many it's freaking cold out here wise. So just a few!
Ha! While I boosted Evie up to a branch where she could twist off a few Fuji's for her bag, Briton filled his. FILLED. SO not a few. And then as we were paying I noticed that they had scratch and dent apples, perfect for applesauce, at a great price and I though, "hey, we eat a lot of applesauce around here, why not" And so I bought half a bushel. I'll tell you the truth, I didn't actually know what half a bushel was going to look like. It's one of those terms that you hear but never quite know. I remembered though that my parents once brought home a bushel of apples for apple butter and we had A LOT of apple butter that year, so I knew half was probably a better way to go. As it turns out a half a bushel of apples is about 25 pounds. Which added to the 16 pounds that my son picked in about half a second meant that we have quite a few apples in our kitchen.
A fair number are good for eating. They are small and firm and sweet and just right for snacks. But most of them needed to have something done with them, so I've spent the past few days maxing batches of applesauce, apple butter and last night, an apple pie, and there is still a large bowlful staring at me every time I walk into the kitchen. "Boil me, puree me, make me into jam!" they say. My stove top has spent the week cluttered with my big preserving pot on one burner simmering apples, my largest stew pot on another cooking down the applesauce or apple butter (which, if you didn't know, is really the same thing, only the apple butter has been cooked down further. So if your applesauce ever gets a little too thick, add some more cinnamon and jar it up!) The foodmill, a bowl for the skins and an assortment of spoons for stirring, smooshing and tasting trailing off one either side of the cooktop.
I think I'll have to do one more round of applesauce, if I can find some more jars in the basement (where do all my jars go? Oh, right, they end up holding bugs and marbles and spools of thread. Hummm....must get more) and then we can use the rest on baking projects and to make a batch of apple squash. Briton has been angling for some more Grimmbena since our last batch ran out. Maybe I'll pull some blueberries out of the freezer and make apple blueberry this time. yumm...

What's your favorite thing to do with apples?