Monday, October 24, 2016

Applesauce


Mornings have been cool during the past week.
I enjoy the ritual of making a fire in the big black woodstove as daylight seeps slowly over the ridge.
As you can see, the neighbors who rent our 'big' farmhouse at the foot of the lane, also built a fire to ward off the chill of the early hours.
Most days we let the fire burn itself out about mid-day, sometimes stirring the embers into fresh life if the evening is damp.


Last week I brought home a half bushel of Empire apples from the Beachy Amish produce farm located about a mile up the ridge road.
The Beachy family does not grow the apples, but had them trucked in from a Pennsylvania orchard.
We have in previous years been disappointed in apples grown locally.
Raised on the crisp sweet/tart varieties that flourish in our native New England we found 'southern' apples lacking in distinctive taste and texture.
The PA apples are everything that a good apple should be!

On Friday afternoon I was inspired to stew up a kettle-full of apples for applesauce.
It was a rather gloomy day and we kept the wood fire puttering along.
I cooked my apples on the electric cook-top--only realizing as I began to sieve the sauce through the Foley mill, that I could have simmered them on the wood stove!
[We do most of our stove-top cooking on the wood stove during the colder months, but apparently my brain hadn't made the transition!]
The applesauce was so good that I decided to make more and put it up in jars.



Canning applesauce is a tedious process--putting it up in freezer containers saves a step--but we have no  room in the freezer!
On Sunday evening a second batch of apples stewed gently and fragrantly on the wood range.
This morning I decanted it into glass jars, and with the fire at a subdued roar, set the water-bath canner on the stove.
Later, I collected my neighbor and drove with her back up the ridge where I purchased another bushel of apples--a bag of Empires and a bag of Winesaps.

Applesauce production took over the kitchen for the remainder of the day.
The sun warmed to higher temperatures than predicted and by early afternoon I had opened one of the kitchen windows.
When Jim came in for dinner he made his plate and immediately decamped with it to the living room--where he opened another window.
Evening found us with two windows open in the kitchen, an electric fan set up at the edge of the front hall--and in desperation--the A/C turned on!



For my labors I have 16 pint jars, 3 qt jars of applesauce, plus a bowlful delivered next door and some consumed at breakfast. 
I could, of course, have made applesauce using the electric cooktop.
I am wary of setting the heavy canner full of jars and boiling water on the glass top--such a modern appliance wasn't designed for such old-fashioned cookery.
I am pleased with the accomplishment of the day--but truly--it is a good deal of effort expended for the resulting product.
I am fall-over tired tonight! The fingers of my right hand have taken on the shape of my paring knife's handle. My shoulders are aching.
As with all such projects, I remind myself that it will be a delight to serve the applesauce over waffles on a January morning, or add it to a simple supper on a snowy evening.
I have more apples to process.
I daresay I will wait for a day when the constant heat of the woodstove  will be more appreciated.


10 comments:

  1. I just thought about making applesauce the other day. Not as much as you have made though. What a treat it will be to eat from your pantry during the long cold winter.

    Have a lovely week ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Rainey; It is so satisfying to have a well-stocked pantry! I'm assuming apples sold in Florida are grown elsewhere--just as FL oranges and grapefruit have to be shipped to the rest of the country.

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  2. Oh Sharon! You make something as mundane as making applesauce sound so wonderful and homey. I love reading your posts. You have such a wonderful way with words!

    Hugs
    Jane

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    1. Jane; I've always had words running through my head for the everyday happenings--a sort of 'running commentary.' I"m glad you enjoyed the post. In turn, I love to read all about your busy and creatively frugal ways.

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  3. A lot of work, but it does look good. I like apple sauce, but my husband does not, can't even get him to eat apples.

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    1. Janet; You'll have to make do with those little single serve paks of applesauce! Its a staple food for fall and winter in our native New England and upstate New York.

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  4. Your mention of Winesaps brought back memories,. I don't think they grow them in the orchards here any more, but we did at one time, and my father-in-law had a great block of them. Good winter apple.

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  5. Hildred; We were delighted to find the Winesaps available at the produce farm. Another old winter keeper I haven't seen since leaving New England is the Northern Spy apple. My Grampa Mac always store a box or two, well covered in a layer of clean horse blankets, in an unheated room of the farmhouse.

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  6. You have been busy. I, too, am being held to ransom by apples - MY, what a harvest we have had, and many apples still on the trees, which we are waiting to fall of their own accord and I cook those up quickly. The boxes we have already picked are down in the cool larder to last into winter.

    I don't make applesauce, which is a shame as the main cooking apple tree cooks to a fluff quickly, but I do incorporate apples, stewed or chopped, into cakes. We often have a couple of spoonfuls of stewed apples with our breakfast muesli.

    Then there are jams and chutneys to try and mop a few more up and no-one leaves the house empty-handed!!

    In the dark days of winter you will enjoy the fruits of your labours. Do you add Cinammon and/or Cloves to your applesauce?

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  7. Jennie; I can imagine that your apple harvest seems a bit over-whelming when you've had such a busy time following the sales and flea markets.
    I tend to make applesauce rather plain--a bit of sugar [amount depending on the variety of apples] but if Jim takes a notion to put the cooked apples through the mill he adds a generous amount of cinnamon and a dollop of butter.
    When we were first in Kentucky--after the barren growing years of Wyoming--I canned, pickled, jammed, and relished everything I could lay hands on. I found that we didn't eat it all after the first enthusiasm--still some jars gathering dust in the cellar storage room. So, now I put my energy towards things I know will be part of the menu, applesauce being one of those. I think I could 'put up' apples as stewed/chunked sauce to add to cakes or muffins, but fresh apples [from cold storage] are usually reasonably priced through the year, so I buy a small amount as needed.

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