The Good Old Days
A few weeks ago (my goodness, I’m behind in my writing!) I went to a fruit farm with one of my friends here in Kansas. It was raining sheetsthat night and I could barely see to drive my itty bitty sports car through the downpour. Nothing, I mean nothing was going to stop me from getting to that fruit farm and getting my apples!
I bought a bushel of apples (that’s 40 pounds!). There’s nothing like the smell of apples filling my house and that crisp fall smell outside. Ironically enough, I’d never made homemade applesauce until I lived in North Carolina… where a “cold” day consists of lows in the 40s. In the Midwest, that’s early fall!
The Artist is from an incredible family in Maryland. Fall without homemade applesauce was considered a sin in her family. She showed up on my doorstep one day with a jar of apple goodness and said, “Hey, I brought some applesauce for you and The Husband.” Gee, thanks. Applesauce!
The Husband popped the top on the jar shortly after it got a chill in the refrigerator and proceeded to eat the entire jar. Of course, he most always shares, especially when I poke him and bat my eyes saying, Please honey bunchkins… can I have a little bite? This, however, was not a sharing occasion.
I called The Artist and told her that it was fabulous, I must learn to make it or the rest of my marriage was surely to go up in flames. Not ones to need any real reason to spend time with each other, The Artist came over and taught me to make my very own applesauce.
How on earth was I ever going to eat the stuff in the convenient plastic tub again? I was in an apple induced coma. Fayettenamville, North Carolina is not exactly close to any farms except for the extensive tobacco and strawberry farms, so I was stuck purchasing apples at the Commissary. No bother, I’d pay $40 a pound for apples to make my own sauce (thank God the Commissary is cheap though.)
Many memories have been created while peeling apples, chopping and stirring. The Artist is one of my best friends. A person I could sit and talk to for hours or not talk at all… having said everything. I love her dearly and miss her with an never ending ache. She’s no longer part of our tightly knit military wife family… but she’ll forever be a military wife to me. She’s fought the battles, cried with me, laughed with me and loved with me.
It was no surprise to either of us when I left an excited message on her voicemail a few weeks ago saying, “Artist! I’m going to buy a bushel of apples tonight… I’m making applesauce! Call me and we’ll make it together!” I came home that night, asked a neighbor kid to take the box into the garage and immediately set to work. Within the hour, I had 10 pounds of apples peeled and left a frantic message looking for advice.
By the time we caught up with each other that night, the apples were peeled, not cooking (much to my frustration) and The Husband was poking the pot asking “Is it done yet?” in his most whiny voice. The Artist came to the rescue, giggling the whole time she said, “Cat! Turn the heat up!” Crisis averted, I handed the phone to The Husband so they could catch up and set about the task at hand. Might I suggest, if you’ve never made homemade applesauce, I beg you to try it. It’s the easiest thing in the world to do… and unbelievable! No special equipment required… just some freezer ziplock bags.
The Artist’s Applesauce
~An Unbelievable, Mouthwatering Recipe from her kitchen
10 lbs apples (I used Jonathan, but also use Granny Smith)
1/2 c apple cider (or water)
1/2 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
I use the Rachael Ray method of cutting things, I can’t imagine a better way to core and chop things… Peel the apples, then cut in half, then quarter. Cut the core out on an angle. Viola! Done. I will admit, I actually halved my quarters this go around because I had such a huge pot.
Place all of the apples in a large pot. Pour 1/2 c apple cider into the pan, and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes until the apples start to break down. Using a wooden spoon or spatula (for the best chunky applesauce ever) gently break down the apples into smaller pieces.
Stir in sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Taste the sauce at this point, more sugar may be required, but The Husband just happens to prefer me to be the only sweet thing about applesauce… ours is served on the tart side.
To store, ladle a few ladles into a freezer ziplock bag. Flatten, freeze up to 6 months (it won’t last that long though!)