We don’t get the crisp, leaf-changing Septembers that happen more northernly. We get hot, humid, dog days until it stops. Well, this week, it stopped. There was an actual nip in the air some mornings. It got down into the SEVENTIES! (Chill, yankees. That’s cold here.)
It made me want to make something fall-esque. And easy. But I couldn’t make up my mind, so I went out seeking inspiration. I passed up the gorgeous selection of pumpkins — that’s too fall. Plus, pumpkin everything is already EVERYWHERE!
Strawberries abound, but they’re always in season. Frankly, I’ll trade that in for all the multi-colored foliage in the world. But the apples were out. I smelled them as I walked past. Like in those old cartoons. The aroma vapors wafted over and seduced my nose over to them and filled my sinuses with inspiration.
As a kid, that was my favorite spread. I loved the stuff. Even the old store-bought Bama apple butter in the cartoon-printed glasses that you could collect and drink juice from later. How awesome were those, by the way? Just wonderful. My favorite things in the world to drink from.
So I grabbed some Galas because, well, I love Gala apples. Just the right combo of texture, taste, and crunch. Plus, I’m a fan of the “if you won’t eat or drink it plain, don’t cook with it” adage. But I wanted a blend of apples, so I browsed. Honeycrisp? Nah. More for eatin’. Jonagold? Nah? Not my favs. Granny Smith? Nah. For pies. Then I came across…Tentation.
There weren’t many of them. They took up a skinny bin in the middle of all the other varieties. They looked a bit battered. A little sad. But they smelled like apple-y heaven. Tentation. The name said it all. I couldn’t resist. And so I bought some.
It’s no secret that I love the recipes from Food in Jars. Marisa comes up with some miraculous stuff. Since I had a Lazy Sunday of grading projects in store for me, I figured that I could deal with a lovely batch of her applesauce and then apple butter blorping away on the stove.
9:30 a.m. It begins.
First things: prep the apples. I like to half them then scoop the seeds out with a melon baller. Quite efficient and not much waste.
After that (according to Marisa), quarter them and simmer them with water or apple cider. Remove the skins when they’re soft enough, then simmer until they’re the texture you want.
While the apples were simmering, Big Dog was intrigued by the smells. She likes her some apples.
After about two hours, the apples were soft and lovely and perfect. I know that the recipe calls for fishing out the apple skins with tongs, but that smacks of effort, and effort is the thing I avoid on Lazy Sundays. So I pulled out the trusty old food mill and ran it through and spiced the result with some Ceylon cinnamon (shout out to Penzey’s Spices!) and grated half a nutmeg into it. A scant one cup of sugar and sweet apple perfection.
Easy peasy removal of skins. Plus, the pups got the apple leavins as a consolation prize for being banished outside.
In fact, that stage of the recipe tasted so amazing that some of it ended up in a pint jar just to be applesauce for me before letting the rest blorp away into glorious apple butterness.
(much, much later…)
4:00 p.m. update: Almost apple butter. It’s getting denser and caramel-colored. Still smells like heaven. Perhaps it’ll be finished by the time I go to bed…
6:10 and it’s done. Check this out:
I filled about 3/4 of a quart jar. Yes, it’s all for me. No, I didn’t process it. I promise that it won’t go bad. In fact, it’ll probably be gone within the week. Or by the end of tonight if I can’t resist the Tentations. Or the Galas.