Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Apples, apples and more irresistable apples!

Our Scenic Drive through the NC Mountains

Getting closer to the apple farm, and saw some wonderful waterfalls

Apple farm
Last week we drove 6 hours to the NC mountains in hopes of picking apples.  What we didn't know was that all of the 10 orchards in that one town were not going to let us pick.  We were really bummed.  When we got to the random orchard we chose, we realized that it was best they pick for us!  The trees were literally on the slopes of the mountainside, and surrounded by a lot of yellowjackets!  Not exactly ideal when you have young little princesses!

But it was still worth going, as we saw some gorgeous little waterfalls along the drive, some great scenic views of the remaining fall leaves, met some great apple farmers, and came home with a huge box and another bag of apples. 

After sampling their apples, we went with a box of Cameo, a combination of tart and sweet, very juicy, and large!  The other bag of apples was Pink Lady, less juicy, more dense, but a promise for sweetness about a week later (now).

I decided to make some apple butter for canning.  This year I made my own rather than someone else's recipe.  I've made it twice, and I love it.  It's not as sweet as your typical apple butter, but it's delicious!  I had some friends at the office try it out, and it seems that other people also liked it, so it's not just me.

I have speculated as to why it's not as sweet.  It's quite possibly that the apples are the reason for the slightly tart flavor.  It could be the honey replacing some of the sugar  (I used NC Wildflower Honey).  Either way, this apple butter is easy to make and really worth trying!

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

10 large apples, such as Cameo
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Peel apples, and chop into large chunks.  Throw them into a large slow cooker.  Put remaining ingredients in, tossing to mix slightly.  Put slow cooker on low for 10 hrs or overnight.  You may stir a couple of times, if desired.  Otherwise, you can just leave it.

In the morning, stir the apple mixture.  In batches, blend in the blender.  Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can blend it right in the pot!  Pour into sanitized canning jars.  Follow standard canning procedures.  If you don't have standard canning procedures, you can visit the real Martha's website for some great tips on easy canning!

So I have many more apples, and so I also made some homemade applesauce for canning.  It's so easy, really anyone can make this:

Cinnamon Applesauce

8 large apples, such as Cameo
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Peel apples and chop into large chunks.  Place chopped apples in a dutch oven.  Splash with lemon juice, and stir in cinnamon until blended in.  Cover and put on medium heat for approx 30 minutes.  Test to see when the apples mush with back of stirring spoon.  If they do, they're done!  Put the apples in a food processor, and blend for 10-15 seconds.  Eat warm, refrigerate, or can for future eating!

As my husband said, "It's like warm apple pie!"

I made something else with the apples.  I'll share later this week.  Hint: a great fall dessert!

Happy fall!

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