It is September in New Hampshire and apple time. The apple tree is not native to the USA, but where ever the settlers went, the apple tree went with them. We all read the story of Johnny Appleseed in school. What the books don't tell was that many of the apples he planted were used to make apple jack and other alcoholic drinks. We all know of apple pies, crisps, apples cut up into pan cakes as well as baked apples. The apple was loved for its fresh crisp taste and sweetness in the fall and was about the only fruit that would keep into winter. We used to have varities that were known as keepers and every orchard had some trees that kept well. Gran dad had some Northwest greenings or that was what he called them. They were a large very hard green apple that you could not eat in the fall. We wrapped them in newspaper and put them into apple boxes. We also did the same with many other varities. Most would keep at least a couple of months. About once a month we had to check on them as the old saying, one bad apple will spoil a whole barrel, is all to true. By the middle of the winter the greenings, usually the last left, had ripened and softened and made the best pies I have ever eaten . Grand mom had a large black iron kettle that she used to cook the fall apples in. She said she used to hang it over an open fire on a tripod but by 1945 she was using a wood stove instead. She had a hand cranked machine that peeled and cored the apples and she made apple sauce out of apples and water. Apple butter was made in the same way with apples , sugar and cinnamon added, and boiled down until thicker than the sauce. We used apple butter on toast, pancakes or lafse and it was very good. The apples had to be stirred all the time or they caught on and by the 1950's they used citric acid or lemon juice to keep the apples from darkening. She canned the sauces and butters and kept them in big crocks in the basement. I don't remember just how she did it and we usually just freeze them at our house. I guess we have become lazy and degenerate in our old age. Grand dad had copper screened racks that he covered with apple slices and put on the south facing chicken coop roof and dried them. In the 1940's they did not use anything to keep them from browning, but it did not seem to change the taste. We always had a jar with dried apples in the kitchen to snack on and they made pies and such with the dried apple also. Grand dad made cider and apple juice out of the apples, had a small cider press, and fed the pomace to the animals. He always blended at least Macintosh and Cortlands for his cider. One sweet and one tart, and used many other blends to get the taste he wanted. We drank it fresh and all of us kids loved it when it got fizzy. Probably only 1 or 2 % alcohol , but we thought we were getting away with something. Don't ask me how I know that you will get the trots before you get drunk. Fizzy cider seems to be an excellent laxative. He let it get hard, added sugar or some other thing, jerky comes to mind and every farmer had his own secret way of making applejack . They bottled the applejack at about 5 % alcohol and it would keep ok for a while. I don't know how long it would keep as it was drank rather quickly. About as strong as beer and some people would freeze it and they could get the alcohol up to 30 % or so. Never saw it distilled in Minnesota, but I am sure it could be done. They took the hard cider and with vinegar mother and without bottling it, they made a very good vinegar. There several threads on vinegar on the forum. Grand mom took the apple peels and boiled them down to make pectin and used it for all of the jellies she made, not just the apple jelly, and Grand dad always kept the branches when he pruned the trees and used them to smoke his meat. The old varitey apple trees live a long time, 100 years is not uncommon, and even without pruning or spraying will give you many small apples. I ask for them and get all the "wild" ones I want here in NH for the asking. Make excellent jellies, apple sauce, apple butter and such. Too small to dry easily and I also buy quite a few apples each fall.