I am still feeling oh. so. sad about losing our sweet Shasta. I just miss her, you know?
Even so, I was able to spend a lovely day gathering apples with a friend. The fall sunshine, fresh air and, best of all, great company just lifted my heart.
I’m sure I got at least 200 pounds of windfalls (those that had fallen to the ground). Want to know how much all those apples cost?
Nothing at all.
If you have you-pick apple orchards near you, check with the farmer about their windfall policy. Often there will be no charge. Keeping the orchard clean of fallen apples is helpful to them and great for you. (Though, it is nice if you also pick and purchase some as a way of saying thank you. I picked an additional 20 pounds for eating at only 35 cents a pound.)
Fallen apples do tend to be bruised, so you probably wouldn’t want to just slice and eat them, but bruised apples are great for turning into applesauce and apple butter.
Apple butter on whole-wheat toast is one of my favorite fall treats. And it couldn’t be easier, trust me.
- 6 pounds of apples (best if you use a couple of varieties)
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of cloves (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- Wash six pounds of apples. Cut off any bad spots, then peel, core, slice and place in large crockpot. (Mine holds 6.5 quarts.)
- Mix sugar, spices and salt together. Pour over apples and toss.
- Cook on high for 1 hour, then turn to low and cook an additional 10 - 12 hours. Remove lid for the last hour so some of the liquid can evaporate. Apples will be a dark brown color.
- Allow to cool slightly, then blend small batches in blender or food processor. Be careful: hot liquids expand when blending!
- Spoon into clean jars. If canning: leave ½ inch headroom. If freezing: leave 1 inch. Screw on clean/sterilized lids.
- Process in a hot-water bath (gently boiling) for 20 minutes or allow to cool to room temperature and freeze.
- Eat with abandon.
For detailed canning instructions, I recommend the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
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