September 4, 2012

APPLES. a lot of 'em.

 Organic apples. They are beautiful indeed. My Sister and I headed north 2 weeks ago to visit my Grandparent's backyard orchard (total of 6 trees, I think?). I guess a small amount of trees is all you need for picking apples to last years and years and years off just one season. We helped our Grandpa pick about 3 bushels full that day. We were thankful for our time with them. And, of course, for free apples! (I honestly don't know how they handled THAT many apples every day all season long for all those years! Wow! Thanks to Grandma for all those yummy pies and applesauce! There's nothing like it!)
 We brought them home. And they sat for a few days on the front porch. I guess I was apprehensive about the coming days being penned up in the kitchen dicing apples all day. Ha!
 As my considerate hubby recommended, when I pulled my courage together 3 days later, I set up an outdoor kitchen cutting/slicing/prepping/soaking area in our back yard. Except for playing the dodgems with the bees and mosquitoes wanting to attack my apples nearby, it was a very pleasant and fun day outside there in that space. The smell of apples, the tasting of many, the excitement of anticipating what the coming batch of applesauce will taste like....heaven I am sure.
 Nathan was such a delight! He didn't seem to mind playing outside for 2 hours straight while Mommy cut up one of the bushels of apples nearby. He kept super busy:
 He ate his weight in apple cores (oh yes, he prefers the cores, minus the seeds dug out). Maybe he liked the challenge? Hmm... He would come ask me for apple, which sounded like "aps" and looked like him motioning "please". He then so care freely went over and sat on the the railway ties (edge of our garden) to enjoy his snack. Oh. so. cute!
 And he played in the water.
 And played with the Ethicon water irrigator spray gun that Daddy brought home from work (a disposable, unused surgical supply....hubs is an outstanding and very experienced surgical technologist at our local hospital). Nathan loves this "toy," and loves spraying it around the yard. Daddy is the best! Bringing home cool toys that no other kid will (probably ever) be able to have!
 Still chowing on even more apples (Mommy broke down and finally gave him some pretzels as well)!
 Finally (thank the Lord), we came inside to finish playing and prepping apples. I roasted most of the apple wedges in the oven at 400 degrees for 25 minutes on baking trays.
 When the apples came out of the oven, I pureed them in the food processor with 1 tsp of lemon juice and 1-2tsp cinnamon to taste (per batch- whole processor full - I didn't measure).
 And while that made my Cinnamon Roasted Applesauce (recipe used from HERE), I saved out other apples to make just plain everyday applesauce to be used later on in recipes, in lieu of using vegetable oil. To make this quick version of applesauce, you combine 4 cups diced/wedged apples (skinless), and about 1/3-1/2 cup water in  a bowl and microwave for about 5-8min. Mash or blend to desired consistency. Mine really didn't need any sugar added, but you may want to, based on the type of apples you use. Incidentally, I forgot to ask my Grandpa exactly what type of apple we brought home from his house? Oh well. They were yummy and free, so its no matter to me.
 And after a very long day, I was able to can these. Phew. Definite time commitment here. But, how I figure it: One to several days hard labor = a whole year of eating fantastic, homemade organic applesauce = well worth my time.
And ya know what? I ended up doing this whole process 2 more times, because I'm crazy, OR I just love applesauce! This is my first year of canning anything, so I'm learning the whole way. I should've done it a long time ago. But, I didn't have the time. Now that I have the time, I'm finding it to be rewarding in many ways. Thanks to my sister for the encouragement (and example) to start!
 
 
P.S. I posed as an amateur photographer today for my sister's family photo shoot. Check out her beautiful family HERE. They are all so precious to me. It was an awesome day. Thanks, Amy, for letting me be a part. So fantastic!

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