With some fantastic rains, temperatures solidly back in the double digits, and evenings dropping down to the 70s and even 60s, suddenly life is flowing back into everything. The garden, the grass, the chickens, and, yes, even me.
I’m starting to think wistfully of my scarf and cardigan collection, of jeans and chilly mornings wandering the last days of the farmers’ market with a steaming mug of coffee in my hands. I’m fantasizing about these things, really. While I hate to wish away time, I am quite content to get lost in daydreams that include the smells of crunchy leaves, wood smoke, and wool sweaters.
With these daydreams in mind, Chris and I ignored the fact that the temperature would get up to 91 degrees last Saturday and braved the beautiful orchards of Anderson Orchards, just west of Indianapolis.
I have had visions of making more apple sauce than I know what to do with since last fall when we left the orchard with over 20 pounds of apples. I made jar upon jar of apple sauce and the best apple butter I’ve ever had (with a few apple crisps thrown in for good measure and to keep me going through all that canning), and we still ran out fairly early in the winter.
Chris’ new favorite joke: “What’s the favorite dessert of gang members? APPLE CRIPS.”
A peck of apples: 12 pounds, to be exact. We came home with TWO of these.
Fast forward to tonight and round two of apple processing. I got through 3/4 of one bag last Saturday. First, I busted out the trusty apple peeler/corer/slicer tool of utter MAGIC my parents gave me for Christmas last year.
Then, I peeled. Oh, how I peeled. I peeled like there would never be an end to the apples I had to peel, like peeling was my new purpose in life. And it was good.
My apple sauce recipe calls for water and apples – that’s it. The step by step: peel and core six pounds of apples. Throw into large stock pot with 1.5 cups of water. Boil for 30-40 minutes, stirring often, until the apples are broken down and fluffy-awesome. In the meantime, prep your water bath canning getup. Blend the liquid-magma-hot apples to your desired consistency in a blender, return to stock pot, and simmer gently another five minutes. Ladle into hot jars with 1/2″ headspace, then process in water bath canner for 15 minutes. Let sit for five minutes in the water bath canner, then remove to a cutting board for 12 hours. Label/store and/or guzzle said apple sauce straight from the jar.
Other signs of life and of impending fall: drying Northern Sea Oats grass seed to plant along the back of the house.
Worm feasts of turnip and carrot greens.
So far, we’re up to 10 jars of apple sauce. I think another trip to the orchard is in order to do up apple butter. Apple butter or bust! Apple butter til we puke!