Sunday, October 3, 2010

Flavors of the Season

As you can tell from previous posts, I really enjoy fall. Blogging has been helping me to embrace it more fully because I'm noticing more in hopes for a creative post! Whatever works. I am convinced that the state in which I live fills up a blank canvas with the beauty of this remarkable season. You don't have to venture far to find it. It is evident in the color all around us, the windy days, the steely gray skies one day followed by clear sunny days the next. The large, colorful squashes, fresh pressed apple cider and pumpkin donuts!

I know apples are synonomous with fall, but what can I say? Apples are such a beautiful fruit and so versatile. The other day I went to our local farm market to load up on a few varieties. I chose Honey Crsip for fresh eating, some Golden Delicious for a pie and some Gala for a beautiful thing called Apple Butter. I had my first taste of Apple Butter a few years ago slathered on a freshly made biscuit. I have been hooked ever since. Out of mercy, friends send some home with me because they get tired of me eyeing it in their pantry. Yes, I look through people's pantries. My grandma will vouch for that, I go through hers every time I visit! Hey, there are a lot of good ideas sitting in pantries!

I consider Apple Butter to be like a concentrated applesauce. It is very rich and deep in flavor. It also has a thicker consistency than the traditional sauce. It is dark amber in color and full of cinnamon and cloves. While it is great with fresh scones, biscuits, etc. I use it for another purpose - apple pies. In my humble opinion, I have discovered a gold mine in my apple pies and I owe it all to Apple Butter. I use some to taste after I peel and slice my apples. It truly lends a fabulous velvety texture to the apples and the smell it lends to the fresh fruit encompasses the entire season. I cut back on my sugar and cinnamon because the Apple Butter provides the flavor, a little bit goes a long way.

I have a nice easy recipe, all made in the crock pot. Dump it in and walk away for like 10 hours! This recipe is from a lovely lady who blessed me with my first taste.
Take 5 and 1/2 lbs of apples peeled, cored and finely chopped. Susan uses Granny Smith or Braeburn varieties. I used Gala and would have used Braeburns but they don't harvest those for a few more weeks.

Put the apples in your slow cooker

In a separate bowl mix together the following: 4 cups white sugar (I use about 3 cups though)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
Mix together and pour over the apples; mix well.

Cover and cook on high for 1 hour and then reduce to low and cook 9-11 hours, stirring occasionally. When mixture becomes thick and dark brown, stir with whisk and put in clean, sterile jars or freezer containers. Refrigerate or freeze. I like my consistency to be quite smooth so I ran my batch through the food processor after it had cooled.

Here it is in all it's glory. Simple to make, delightful to eat!

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