As in previous years, I could not resist the allure of apples in season. In deference to my dramatically diminished ability to process and can, we only picked sixty pounds of apples rather than the hundred-plus pounds that we typically bring home from Larriland Farm. Sadly, this was not a good year for local apples, and we weren’t able to get any Granny Smiths. Truthfully, we were only able to pick Pink Ladies and ended up buying some Stayman from the stand to complement the flavors (in order to follow the rule of always using at least two kinds of apples in any recipe). We still ended up with a fair number of apples, as we receive a bag of assorted eating varieties each week from the fruit share portion of our CSA.
What I usually do with all these apples is can a couple of batches each of sauce and chutney. This year, though, we don’t need sauce as we’re still working our way through a half dozen quarts from last autumn, and I don’t have the time to make chutney, what with all the chopping and stirring that entails. Instead, I’m making pies and muffins for the freezer and crisps for us to eat. We probably don’t need such a steady infusion of baked sugary goodness in our sleep-deprived state…oh, wait, of course we do! I plan to make a cake or two, possibly also for the freezer, but the big addition to the apple roster this year was apple butter. I used my crock pot for only the third time in ten years to slow cook the apple butter, which made it super easy to deal with. The canning is not onerous, now that we have all the supplies and have been through the routine dozens of times. With the slow cooker it’s not necessary to stir the pot constantly to keep it from scorching, and we set it up to cook overnight. I did end up letting it cook with the top off for an additional two hours, as it was still pretty runny in the morning. It’s delicious; I’ve been having it on toast and will probably make another batch this week. Once that’s done, the rest of the apples will be for eating; the beauty of the Pink Ladies is that they keep in the fridge forever and provide something fresh for my partner’s bag lunches for most of the winter.
As an aside, the chutney recipe I use is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Simply In Season. When I went looking for it online, I came across a person who spent last year cooking all the recipes in the book. She blogged about it , and it’s fun to read through and see how recipes I’ve made or thought of making turned out for her. I have to say, it’s also nice to see one of these make-everything-in-a-cookbook-in-a-year blogs that uses a regular cookbook rather than a coffee table book from a gourmet restaurant. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, they’re just not ever going to be what I use in my kitchen.