Monday, August 23, 2010

Applesauce!

I was lucky enough to pick free apples! Another superb example of some excellent networking/feeding the fresh produce addiction with my partner in crime, MP. Madam President's parent's neighbors are the proud owners of two delightful apple trees--right in their backyard. The apples were ours for the taking, we just needed to pick them. Happily the Prez, Miss Em, and I hopped into the car with two empty coolers and filled them up with this:

Ugly as sin, aren't they?


However, these apples are the real deal. Spray-free and unwaxed. You won't find them in the grocery store. But then again, you won't find free apples in the grocery store either.

On Saturday, while Coder watched the wee one, I busied myself making applesauce.

I grew up on homemade applesauce and just like homemade strawberry jam, once you have homemade you will never, ever be able to eat store-bought. Ever. In summers past my mom, aunts, and cousins would head over to Grandma and Grandpa's house and the kitchen would be full of busy hands washing, cutting, boiling and filling the hopper with hot apples while this crazy contraption separated the skins, seeds, and cores from the flesh. Like magic warm applesauce slid down the chute into large enamel pans. Once full, sugar would be poured in straight from the bag! They never measured! After stirring in the sugar, the sauce was divided into freezer containers and frozen; preserved through the winter and enjoyed until the next apple season.

Grandma always used transparent apples--but they are already out of season by now. Transparent apples are the first to ripen in late May to early June. They are tart (hence all the sugar), but I prefer them. I missed the season this year, but hopefully next year we'll catch them in time.

This is the crazy contraption that magically separates the desirable parts from the undesirables:


The top piece is the hopper. This is where you dump in the boiled apples:


Still as ugly as sin--and slightly potato-like.

To the right notice the plastic chute, this is where the applesauce slides out:


This is the funnel for the waste:


Isn't that the grossest thing you've seen all day? Disgusting but necessary if you want to eat this:


And this is how you pay for "free" applesauce:


For my first time flying solo, I think it turned out just fine. But before summer's end, I hope to visit Grandma's house and learn from the pro; for educational purposes but mostly for the sake of nostalgia.

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