For a dozen years or so–I’ve lost track–our friends Heidi and Julaine have sent out an email offering to pick up apples for us from Apple Hill. Then, almost as if by magic, the apples of our choosing would show up a few days later. Soon after the apples arrived, the craziness would commence with lots of chopping and cooking followed by putting all that through a special kind of sieve that holds the peels and seeds in and pushes the applesauce through. After generous samples all around, we’d stash a bit in the fridge for coming days and then can the rest to last for a few months.
Last year around this time, we were in North Carolina, and we didn’t get an apple delivery. We saw our friends’ pictures of applesauce making on Facebook, and, I will confess it here, I was a little bit envious. Homemade applesauce on top of a slice of warm sourdough bread is a fall treat that I am particularly fond of. And no store-bought applesauce will suffice. I’d rather go without than use inferior applesauce. I pondered my lack of applesauce and just figured it was one of the trade offs we’d have to live with while we were traipsing all over the country and living in an RV.
Brian was driving along one day and saw a little farm stand. Ten bucks later, he had 40 pounds of “seconds,” apples that were grown not far from where we were but were cosmetically challenged. There were all sorts of them all mixed together which is the absolute best way to make applesauce as the tarts and sweets all blend together into a wonderfully delightful mixture.
In very short order, I had 2 pots–my only 2 pots, as it were–simmering and bubbling on the stove. As soon as they were all finished, I had to figure out a place to store the applesauce while I baked a couple loaves of bread. With only 40 pounds of apples to start with, we didn’t plan on canning any. With careful hoarding, I hoped to have that applesauce last a week at most.
The pot I cooked the sauce in is the same one I used to mix my bread dough, so I had to wait until the applesauce was put away before I could start the baking process. Small space living has its drawbacks, I suppose, but at the same time, there is a certain anticipation that is built as we all waited the 24 hours or so until the sourdough was ready. Some things are worth the wait, and this is one of them.
Last year at this time, we made applesauce in an RV, far away across the world. It bubbled and simmered on the stove while Brian read Each Little Bird That Sings to the children (and to me! I like to rock the baby to sleep while he reads). Those North Carolina apples brought us a little taste of tradition. That is a tradition we are continuing here, in Japan as well. We’ve already made and savored our first batch over here on the other side of thee world.
Sweet traditions and memories. Good times and good eats.
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