Sunday, September 14, 2014

Abundant Apples

This has been a banner year for apples.  Our trees are loaded.  Here's the Kerr (apple/crab) that is part of the backyard deck.  It produces every other year and you can make very nice apple juice from these apples.

We planted that tree and then built the deck around it.  In the background are some of the raised vegetable beds in the garden.

This next
is a Dolgo Crab Apple Tree.  The apples are small, bright red and oblong.  They make a very nice, deep pink applesauce.
I haven't made any this year because we still have lots in the freezer.

I tend to freeze, not can, most produce because I always have trouble with lids not sealing.  Freezing eliminates that problem.

Also as part of the deck is what we call the "old apple tree" which was in the front when we bought this property.  We had it moved to the back.  We don't know what variety of apple this is, but we do know that you need to wait until a good frost has passed over it for the apples to be mellow.  This is also good for sauce, and I've also used it to make apple wine.

The tree itself is just bowed down beneath the weight of all the apples.  It has already dropped whole baskets full on the deck flooring.

These are just three of the apple trees we've planted here.  There are several more.  One of them near the #1 greenhouse produces excellent apples which we've already picked. I made two batches of apple butter this past week.

Here's a picture of the batch that I bottled yesterday morning.  I like to start by making fresh apple sauce in the afternoon, then packing that into the crockpot for a slow overnight simmer.  In the morning I take off the lid and let it cook down (on medium) to about 2/3 of what went in.  Then I bottle it in pint or cup jars that have been soaking in boiling water, slip on a lid,  and set them on towels to cool.  It's a delight to hear the lids snapping shut, sealed until we need the contents.

Put 12 cups of (fresh) applesauce (unsweetened) into a crockpot.
4 cups of dark brown sugar (Demerara)
6 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. allspice
3 tsp. cloves
3 tsp. nutmeg
Cook on high until it begins to bubble.  Cook on medium or low (depending on how hot your crockpot is) for about 12 hours, stirring every now and then.  Take off the cover (or put it ajar to catch the spatters but still let out the steam) and cook until the apple butter is reduced by about 1/3.  Use your judgement according to how thick you like the apple butter.  Spoon into hot, sterilized jars and top with clean, hot lids.  Screw the bands on tight and place the jars, spaced apart, on some towels to protect the countertop.  Listen for the snap.

This is especially delicious on cinnamon/raisin bagels, but I'm sure you can think of many other uses!

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