Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall's Fruit: Apples

I've been noticing a lot of posts popping up on the blogosphere lately about apples and what to do with them after picking a bushel or so of them.

There's no apple tree on the cabin property and honestly, I'm not sure if there is an apple tree on the Gunflint Trail; I suppose they constitute bear bait.

Growing up in my great-grandparents' house, we had three apple trees in the backyard, all in the "winter" of their life. For years we gathered loads of apples from the yellow transparent apple tree and turned out pies, applesauce, apple butter, and crisps. But after sustaining considerable bear damage, the trees finally kicked it and my parents planted two new apple trees the spring I graduated from high school. This year, eight years after the seedlings went in the ground, my parents' apple trees produced enough apples for a single apple crisp.

While I have fond memories of peeling apples and rolling out pie crusts, I wasn't expecting to join in the annual apple harvest this year. But Andy's mother's neighbor has a well-established apple tree that they apparently don't use and I was more than happy to take some apples off their hands.

I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite uses for apples in this post, besides apple pie. 
(Why is it that I can only ever get a picture snapped of mostly eaten pie?) I just used Joy of Cooking's apple pie filling recipe. The crust recipe is a secret. ;)

What with my new water bath canner and all, I knew I wanted to make a big batch of applesauce with the apples I scored this year. While some people (ahem, Andy) may say I eat like a kindergartener, to me applesauce is the ultimate comfort food.

Our family recipe for applesauce is pretty specific:
Fill a soup pot with apple slices. (At best guess, I'd say this is approximately 2 gallons of apple slices)
Add just enough water to keep the slices from sticking - start out with about a cup and add more water as necessary
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar.

Cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Puree if you like, but I prefer it chunky. Place hot applesauce into hot, sterilized canning jars. Process in water bath for 20 minutes. Makes approximate 3.5 quarts.

When I made applesauce earlier this fall, I rushed it along a little bit, which resulted in me using a high heat when cooking it and adding a lot of water. It still tastes homey, mildly sweet and delicious, but it's got some big chunks in it. If I were to do it, I'd probably simmer it for much longer over lower heat.

If I had more time (and apples) I'd have probably make a small batch of unsweetened apple sauce too for using in baking. I've made apple butter in the past and to be honest, I'm not over the moon about it. I guess I prefer berry-centric fruit spreads. Another favorite use for apples that are just about to turn is Magnolia Bakery's Apple Pecan Quick Bread.

May your baskets overflowth with apples this fall and may your home smell of cinnamon.

11 comments:

  1. Oh, just about in time. I have plenty of apples and will dive into apple recipes tom. The secret dough, well this pie just looks like European applestrudel!

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  2. I went apple picking a few times, I'll have to try this recipe. Apple Butter sounds great too.
    -new follower

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  3. I've never gone apple picking and some of the teachers in my school made applesauce with their kids

    new follower
    http://dayswiththe6pack.blogspot.com

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  5. I'm going to dry some of my apples in the oven with cinnamon. It smells so incredibly good! Or maybe some apple pancakes.

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  6. Hopping through behind Jacob
    http://glowacademy10.blogspot.com/

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  7. What a lovely post. Has me feeling all autumn-ish! I have a fabulous apple crisp recipe on my baking blog you might like. Uses cake mix for the topping and it is VERY tasty.

    I want to make some applesauce this year, thank you for the recipe!

    Michael Ann
    http://thebiggreenbowl.blogspot.com

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  10. It looks yummy!
    I love apple pie.

    I'm your newest follower via GFC from
    Weekend Blog Hop.
    Please feel free to visit my blog
    and hope you follow back.
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