Thursday, September 9, 2010

apples, apples, apples (and pears)

This summer seemed particularly hot. Hot, humid, and hot some more. It may have had more to do with feeling cooped up indoors with a newborn who just couldn't take much heat. And, let's face it, summer is so much more enjoyable when I am feeling good in my swimsuit. Thank you, post-baby body. So this sneak peek at fall weather that we have had the last week or so has been more than welcome.

My thoughts are turning from lemonade, simple salads, and outdoor grilling to my favorite flavors of fall. Bring on the sweaters, falling leaves, and fires in the woodstove. I'll take some brisk morning air, thank you.

And there is no greater hint at the glory of the coming season than bushels and bushels of apples.

We picked a box full of them at the farm in Iowa. I know, here I go again about our farm trip last month. Yes, it really was that good.

Liam especially enjoyed the treat of picking and eating his own apples.

We ended up with quite the sinkful. Jim and Janelle weren't sure about the variety. The tree is old, and they usually don't bother with harvesting these ones since the apples aren't very pretty, they are kind of sour, and they are prone to worm-invasion...

In other words, they're perfect for apple butter.

After a thorough washing and removing of yucky spots, Gabriel and cut them into large chunks, skins, seeds, stems, and all.

I cooked them until the apples broke down. The smell was fantastic.

After a run through the food mill attachment on my KitchenAid, I returned the apple puree (nearly 2 gallons worth!!!) to the stovetop along with 1 1/2 cups of sucanat sugar, two cinnamon sticks, two slices of orange peel, and a good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. The sauce simmered away on the stovetop for the better part of the afternoon, resulting in wonderfully spiced apple butter.

We ended up with a dozen jars, canned and ready for all the pancakes we can make...

This Sunday, after we got home from our weekend camping trip, we went and picked more apples along with some pears from some neglected trees that were just brimming with fruit.

Gabriel did most of the work, picking bag after bag of the tasty fruit.

And when he had picked all he could reach from the ladder, Gabriel did the next logical thing.
Up, up, up.
All of that hard work payed off.

The pears need a while to ripen, but, oh, do I ever have plans for them. And we went through one bag of the apples and cam eup with 8 ziploc bags of apples, sliced, sweetened, and spiced for apple pie. All they need is a crust to cook in.

Okay, fall, we're ready for you...


  1. That is such a good idea about the apples. I have always followed the family apple pie recipe without thinking, which involves making the crusts and then putting the apples, sugar, etc. in on top of the first crust. Preparing the apples separately makes so much sense! Wish we could help you eat some. ;)

  2. @Jonathan

    AS much as I'd like to, I can't claim the credit for the apple-pie-in-the-freezer-idea.

    I got it from Amanda of fame.

    I wish your family was here to help us eat some, too :-)

  3. You guys are the ultimate homesteaders!! I'm so excited about apples this year too! Especially now that I have a crock pot! mmmmm homemade applesauce!

  4. i love the picture of Liam with a "gun in each hand" Not sure which one to go to first :)