Fall is a busy time of year for collecting and processing the wonderful fruits and vegetables we have grown through the summer. While we still have not put in our own orchard I know a few people who have apples aplenty.
This last Sunday I took the kids apple picking with Grandma Linda and we all had a great time. Lucian was up in the branches hollering, “Look how beautiful this one is!” “See how red it is?” “Smell it, it smells delicious.” Fiona’s job was to grab apples from Lucian and put them into the basket. Every once in a while I would pick her up so she could yank one off the tree. Her continuous question was, “Can I eat this?” The girl loves apples. I haven’t climbed a tree in a few years but I was up in one of the other trees picking as many as I could reach. All the good ones were up top. Penelope was content to watch us pick apples, most of the time, then she was happy with grandma snuggles. When we finished we had lunch at Alley Cats which is one of the local coffee shops conveniently located just down the alley from where we were picking apples.
I have had a giant basket of apples riding around in my car for a few days and have finally gotten around to processing them. Why in the car? You might ask. Trenton asked the same thing. It is cooler outside than in the house, they all won’t fit in the refrigerator, I don’t want them to get mushy from being too warm and they are protected if it freezes. Trunks are for temporarily storing apples in, aren’t they?
I peeled about a third of the apples yesterday which filled my big crock-pot. That was also as many apples as I could peel without my hand cramping up painfully. We have an apple peeler/corer but on most real apples it doesn’t work very well. I stress real apples because most apples that are not from big orchards are a little wonky. They are not the perfectly round apples you expect to see in the store. Sometimes the core is off center and they can be a bit lumpy but the flavor is amazing.
One full crock-pot of sliced apples and 1/2 cup of water set on low for about 5 hours turns into 4 pints of great looking applesauce. I think we have enough apples for one more batch of applesauce and a batch of apple butter. I’m hoping I can find the recipe for apple butter that I used last year because it was delicious. If I remember correctly I found an apple butter recipe that didn’t add sugar to the mix. I like to find recipes that taste great without adding extra sugar.
Lucian and Fiona both love the apple butter. I’ll have them help mix in the spices when it is time to make it. They both love to cook so it will be fun for them to help make it and help eat it when it is finished.