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...
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.