When you talk about getting off the grid and living on the land you also have to learn manners and not to be so closed up that people don`t like you, being nice does pay off. Today I am making apple butter, first is how I make it and then how I got the apples free.
Apples was one of the first fruits I ever canned because its so easy!
This is how I made the apple butter, the old fashion way:
Apples - whatever you have
Half pint canning jars and new lids.
Peel and core the apples, as you chop the apples make sure you put them into water so not to turn dark brown. There is not need to use fruit fresh because the apple butter will be light brown anyways.
Drain and rinse the apples and add only one half water, do not cover all the apples with water, they will make juice.
Bring to a rolling boil, stirring often.
When the apples are soft and you see that the water is now thicker with the natural syrup from the apples, remove from the stove and cool to lukewarm.
In a food processor pulse till smooth, like applesauce, put back into the cooking pot.
Sprinkle the applesauce with cinnamon and a little of the cloves, be careful the cloves are strong and will overpower.
Now add the sugar, a little at a time. Taste, if it needs more add more, a little at a time till you get it right to your taste. Same with the cinnamon and cloves, its all about how spicy and sweet you want this apple butter.
Cook over medium heat to melt the sugar, stirring. Do not leave this it will burn! Let cook for around five minutes, scrapping the bottom of the pot.
Pour into prepared canning jars, put on lids and put into a water bath for ten minutes.
That is exactly how I learned to make apple butter before I was twenty one.
The story behind this apple butter:
I was given an apple tree, not the actual tree but all the fruits that was hanging all over it! And this beauty from the heavens was full and they are all huge hand size apples. "McIntosh" the elderly gentleman said. Before I picked one apple I stood beside him staring at the apple tree and I said " that looks like a lot of apple butter, do you like apple butter?" without hesitation he said " yes I love apple butter! the apple is my favorite fruit."
I was picking the lower apples while he talked to us, me and Tony, about his fruit trees, how some were bearing fruit and others starved for water because of this drought we are in and about his small medical problems.
He had Tony to shake the tree and make most of the apples fall, after a minute Tony sat down on the ground, I knew he was having the " heart flutters" but the man looked puzzled so I said " He has afib and he has to rest when it flutters." The man said " you know what you can do and can`t" and let it go, I continued to work, they talked.
I managed to get three five gallon buckets filled with huge delicious McIntosh apples, we did leave some for the gentleman to eat.
Now the shocker was this man showed me around his property, all the tree`s and shrubs are fruit or nut bearing, he gave me random growing pecan trees ( go back with a shovel) , I have to get those for sure! But this was what shocked me the most, he told me he would sell me his place. Of course I don`t have that kind of money but if I did I would buy it! Grapes, pecans, peaches, pears and apples. I am sure there is more but that is what I seen.
But for now I make apple butter, I will make some strong, some medium and some sweetened with splenda and take back to this man for his generosity, he told me to only bring one small jar but that is not going to happen! He will get apple butter and many more apple products from those three five gallon buckets of apples.
By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry