Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It seemed like a good idea at the time. And it was.

“What are you doing?” My sister asked me while we chatted on the phone.
“Making apple butter.” Was my response.
“How do you do that?”
Well, let me tell you. First, I apologize for a non-pastry story but good peach season is over and apple season is just starting. Not that fruit is the only thing that goes with pastry, not by a long shot, but we haven’t got that far yet. Anyway, back to the butter. You start by going to a BBQ at a friend’s place out in the country. Actually, they don’t have to live in the country, they just need a yard with an apple tree. You then enjoy some Polish beer and Italian wine – the order matters not. As you sit around chatting you will inevitably hear the occasional ‘thud’ as apples fall from nearby trees. Remembering your “bin shoppin” bin in your car (for those of you still using plastic bags to do grocery shopping, you have to get one of these bins. Plastic bags are a plague upon this planet and I have the fond memory of swimming into one in Acapulco Bay – not actually inside it your understand, just face first against it – to prove it) and think, hmmmm, I am sure I can do something with all those apples. It seems like such a waste to just let them rot no? Then you remember, not so fondly, the time you thought it a smart idea to can a bushel of tomatoes. In your one bedroom apartment. Without air conditioning. In August. Not so much. And of course, they aren’t magazine perfect apples either. Small with hail scars. Then again, there are no pesticides. That fact, another beer and a few ‘thuds’ later you are vigorously shaking tree branches and picking up apples. Not the proper way to pick apples to be sure. Unless, that is, you’ve had Polish beer and Italian wine to inspire you. One must be DELIGHTED when one finds a recipe for apple butter that says you don’t have to peel the apples! Happy dances all round! Simply quarter, core and boil with apple cider. The worst part is pressing the ‘mush’ through a sieve – I need a food mill – but all-in-all, a painless process. You then let this caramel coloured thick stewy goodness simmer for about an hour and a half and pour it into jars for preserving. Oh and unless you end up with at least one blister on your hand from butter spatter, sterilizing the jars or touching the lid of your dutch oven, you’ve done it wrong. Place a good dollop of hot butter on the side of your hand, dash to the sink and run it under cold water. Ahhhh. While you lick your wounds and eat toast with that little leftover bit, make sure you listen for the glorious ‘pop’ as the lids seal. Lovely.


Blogger Blair said...

This is a lovely piece of writing kiddo - keep it up!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Gunner said...

You might like the picture of all of the tomatoes we canned as salsa a couple of weekends ago. Over 8 gallons plus in one day. 34 quarts worth equals over 50 lbs of tomatoes plus other items.

I've talked to my wife about apple butter but she says the websites recommend against it because of consistancy issues. If you have one that gets past that would you email it to me?

7:26 AM  

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