Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wood and Apples: Bring on the Winter!

Every fall we head to my parents farm in Western Pennsylvania to make applesauce and so the Woodsman and Farmer Dan can cut,split and bring in the winter's supply of wood.  This year, for the first time, we invited my 89 year old grandmother to join us.  We had a wonderful day doing our fall apple and wood party.  The guys worked on the wood.  The applesauce and apple butter were primarily done by me and my mom - with help from grandma and my aunt.  The kids helped with both applesauce and with wood.
I love spending time with family like this.  My grandmother has always maintained that work you do by yourself is just that - work.  But, work you do together becomes fun.  I couldn't agree more.  The day started out clear, but cold.  Soon, it warmed up into a warm, wonderful autumn day.  We turned 2 1/2 bushels of apples into 40 quarts of sauce and 18 pints of apple butter.  We celebrated with warm gingerbread and applesauce.  But, mostly, we enjoyed the day together.  My grandma got lots of one on one time with each of the kids - and they were happy to chatter away to her while cutting.  My mom enjoyed the time in the kitchen with all of us working together, and I relished in being home on a gorgeous fall day, surrounded by those I loved - with a full pantry to boot.
The Woodsman drives the tractor down to the field.

Apples waiting to be washed.

Washing apples - this gave them very,  very cold hands.  Later we got smart and used warm water to wash.
Soccer Boy cuts apples - he does a good job, but it still makes me nervous.

Cooking down over the Turkey Cooker burner.
Both kids and Matka cut apples.

Beautiful lady I love you!

Mixing the gingerbread.

Almost soft enough to churn through.

The magic Victorio machine.

Reading Girl cranks the sauce through.

Finished gingerbread and Farmer Dan

Warm applesauce and gingerbread - yum!

Mom's Apple Butter

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

1/2 bushel of apples makes approximately 18 pints.

Oven at   275            Can 10 minutes

14 c. sauce
4 c. brown sugar
4 T cinnamon
2/3 t cloves
1 t allspice
2 t lemon juice
(All spices are ground - not whole.)

Mix all of this together and put into several large, heavy pans (We use Dutch ovens and roasters).

Bake the butter down until thick  - about 6 - 8 hours.  It depends on how thick the sauce is when you start.  Stir about every hour. 

The apple butter is done when you put it on a plate and no liquid separates out to the side. 

You may need to adjust the spices as you go. 

The barn

The house

Snowball bush

Running the wood splitter

Looking very rugged and handsome....

Happy to have help for the day.

Soccer boy perfects his swing...

Reading girl got loaded up by Farmer Dan - what a strong girl!
Finished sauce:  we add cinnamon to taste to our fall sauce.

Finished applebutter

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