But the more I thought about it, the more depressed I got. I had all my equipment ready to go, my Christmas baskets in mind, to say nothing of being able to eat my favorite fall stuff.
Well, John and I hit a fruit market in Harpersfield, Ohio, last weekend. I looked around, trying not to think about apples, apple sauce, apple butter …
They had a huge dog, at least part Saint Bernard, on the back porch and I just had to go pet him. I leaned over something and held my hand out so the pooch could smell it, rubbed his noggin and looked down at what I was leaning over.
It was a huge crate of apple seconds, the kind they sell for canning. They’re not pretty enough for retail, but there’s nothing wrong with their taste. They were crisp, juicy tart Cortlands, just like mine. Better than mine, actually.
I asked how much they wanted: $13. I don’t know how many there were, or if it was a good price. But I know I got 6 pints of applesauce, 6 pints of apple butter and an apple pie out of it.
It was so much fun, I got a half bushel of others at Mason Farms yesterday for $5. I don’t know what kind they are, but I’m glad it’s the weekend again. This time I might actually make some to give away.
I don’t follow any particular recipe for sauce anymore. I’ve never found one spicy enough. Here’s about what I do.
10-15 medium apples, peeled, cored, sliced — enough to fill a 4-quart sauce pot to within an inch of the top
1 cup water
1 to 2 cup sugar, to taste
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dry, ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1. Combine apples and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil and simmer until apples are very soft, adding more water as needed to keep the apples from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
2. Add spices and puree. I use an immersion blender. A food processor would work well. I don’t know about a regular blender.
3. Stir over medium heat until it’s the right consistency.
This is not a USDA-tested and vetted recipe for canning. I don’t recommend canning it without checking with an expert first. Here is some reliable information on canning apple stuff: USDA canning guide.