Friday, November 10

Apple Butter Anxiety

Tomorrow is the big day. Four eager workers and 12 bushels of apples will make war stories and 27 gallons of apple butter at my house this weekend.

My other half had made apple butter with his father over 25 years ago. His fond memories are what sparked this two-day event... that, and the fact that he inherited the old copper kettle and a "still in the box" peeler.

Seems making apple butter was an annual event at the church he attended as a child as well. He phoned several of the older women from the church this week to compare the recipe, as well as to gather some additional tips and techniques. Needless to say, he was more than a bit disappointed when he learned that nowadays they used apple sauce rather than go to the trouble of peeling apples. Wonder how many years they peeled before that decision was made?

I understand canning and making jelly. I remember shelling endless bags of peas with my mother and Granny. We'd all set up on the screen porch at Granny's and snap or shell until our thumps were sore. Pretty soon, the adults would become so engrossed in their conversation, they'd forget the children were even there. That's when the conversation would get interesting and my sisters and I would become quieter and more attentive. Ah, the gossip... I heard a lot on that porch that I didn't fully understand until much later in my life.

When I was living in Texas, I planted two pear trees when the girls were toddlers so I could make my own pear honey.
Once the tress began to bear fruit, my two daughters were drafted for the canning experience, as well as any unsuspecting friends. The first few years, everyone eagerly anticipated the event... eventually, helping with the pear honey was used as a bargaining tool for teenage girls. Soon thereafter, even neigborhood friends became suspiciously nonexistent the weekends we peeled pears and made pear honey.

One of the couples involved in our apple butter project actually hosted the last event over 25 years ago at their home. It's good to have some seasoned veterans.

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