The magic apple!

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by duane, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    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.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  2. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    @duane after reading your post, I am officially homesick. I miss apple cider donuts, going to the local orchards & listening to the Jamaicans singing in the orchards as they harvest the crop. I can still taste an apple picked fresh off the tree. You are correct on the Macs (best apple IMO). I always have the local store bring in a case so I can make apples breads, pies and apple sauce. Bobbing for apples that were picked off of a local trees is the best. When most people think of New England in the Fall they think of the trees but in my opinion it is about the harvest.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
  3. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Apple recipes galore!

    Whether you can walk outside your back door and pick them right off your tree, live somewhere that offers U-Pick orchards (check THIS ** see note below website to find places near you!), or can find amazing pricing on bushels at the farmer’s market, you really can have a lot of fun with your haul!

    Where to Find Pick-Your-Own Fruit and Vegetable Farms / Orchards for Local, Fresh Fruit, Vegetables and Pumpkins, Along With Canning, Freezing & Preserving Instructions! ** Moto's note- I have found that some orchards take reservations for picking so please check/call before you go!

    Here are some apple recipes to get you going!

    100+ Apple Recipes

    100+ Apple Recipes! | The Prairie Homestead

    Follow the link for the complete list. Breakfast, soup, salads.... so many uses. Enjoy!
  4. KAS

    KAS Monkey+++

    you dont need 1oo apple recipes ... get rid of some !!!!
  5. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Picked my first apple off my tree this weekend... not pretty but tasty...:)
    Motomom34 and Ganado like this.
  6. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Apple recipes are like zucchini recipes. You can NEVER have enough. ;)
    Motomom34 likes this.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    The main ingredient in nearly all popsicles, regardless of flavor is apple pulp.
    KAS likes this.
  8. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Well listening to the geese talk, reading the forum, and making applesauce. I bought a bushel of "B" grade apples last Sunday and they have to be processed soon or they won't be good. Gran dad always said that the only difference between apples and eggs were that apples spoiled quicker and you could tell if someone had dropped the egg. I use a mixture of half Macintosh for sweetness and half Cortland for more flavor. I don't use any sugar but at least half will have cinnamon added as it is so good on oatmeal and I add fruitfresh, vitamin C, to keep it light colored, and it is supposed to be good for you. Since the apples cook up different and because I like the texture, and am lazy, I always run them through a cone shaped food mill. I could use the modern "Foley" mill, but I have one of the cones that my mother gave me and I think my grand mother had. I know it is at least 70 years old, but it could be 100 or more. It is tin plated steel, the new ones from Lehman's are aluminum and I personally don't do that. I use a Revere type kettle that my mom had, stainless steel with a copper bottom, and that is at least 60 years old. Copper helps to keep the heat even and the sauce from sticking and a half teaspoon of salt and a little vinegar has kept the bottom shiny for all that time. I have a fancy apple peeling machine, but always seem to end up using a potato peeler and a good paring knife, don't even try to use one of the new paring knives that are only sharpened on one side, they stay half sharp at best and will not cut straight when you cut apples, potatoes, squash, etc. The best sources I have found for good cooking tools are flea markets, auctions and church sales. Almost always people getting rid of mom's or grand mom's obsolete kitchen things. None of the new powered whiz bangs will work if we lose power, last 100 years, and be so easy to clean and use.
    NotSoSneaky likes this.
  9. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I found this recipe on the Hungry Hedge hog. I was planning on making regular salsa today so I think I will make a small batch of this.

    When using apples you have to use lemon juice to keep the apples from browning. Will the lime juice act like the lemon juice and preserve the apples? Anyone know?
    Ganado likes this.
  10. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Why Does Lemon Juice Stop Apples From Browning? | Everyday Life - Global Post

    Other Options
    Several other ways to keep apples fresh and crisp during preparation involve blocking the chemical reaction that causes them to turn brown. You can soak the sliced apples in apple juice, which has the added benefit of matching their flavor, or another juice such as lime or orange. A solution of 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in 4 cups of water is another choice, as is just plain cold water, as long as the apples are completely submerged. While lemon juice has one of the highest concentrations of ascorbic acid and a very low pH, the University of Illinois Extension states that it is not as effective as using the acid in its pure form. It's available wherever canning supplies are sold.
    Motomom34 likes this.
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