Last weekend I visited my good friend and her family. When I arrived, she immediately told me to keep my shoes on- we were going out back to see her compost. “I got my compost pile to steam!!!” Of course, this was something I wanted to see. She and I have long been on the same wavelength about the way we want to live our lives. We take immense satisfaction in doing things ourselves- even if it takes a little longer- in order to maximize food enjoyment and minimize our impact on this earth. In high school, we baked together and went berry picking together. We’ve long dreamt about our adjacent farms, complete with chickens for eggs, goats for cheese, vegetables and fruit galore, and and a brick oven for baking bread and pizza. Clearly, her parents have something to do with ingraining this lifestyle in her, because when they got married and purchased their home 30 years ago they planted many fruit trees, which are now thriving. They have lemons, oranges, nashi (kind of like asian pears), persimmons, nectarines, and apples. When I saw the apple tree, I asked what they were planning on making with the apples. My friend said that her parents don’t use the apples because they tend to be very “buggy.” She asked her parents, and they said I could take as many apples as I wanted! Hmmm…..it didn’t take me long to decide I would make my year supply of apple sauce to freeze. So we set out to pick apples, and boy did we pick apples- 17 pounds in all! I also ended up with about 5 lbs each of lemons and nashi. Yum!
For the next 3 days, I was cutting and slicing apples (making sure to cut out any bugs, of course!) and cooking the slices down into applesauce. The recipe is a very simple one- apples, a little lemon juice (to keep the apple slices fresh until you are ready to cook them down) a little water (if the apples seem dry), sugar (if the apples are tart), and cinnamon (if you’re a cinnamon kind of person). Really, all you need are apples. The other ingredients are up to you/the apples. It’s also up to you whether you peel the apples or not. I opted to not peel them, but I did run the sauce through the coarse setting of a food mill to break down the peels a bit after cooking them. Once the sauce was ready, I jarred it, labeled it, and put it in the freezer to be enjoyed throughout the winter and spring.
Oh and in case you’re wondering, 17 lbs of apples ended up filling 12 pint jars, plus several smaller jam jars and a medium-sized tupperware container.