Mrs. Trueby’s Apples

Spread me all over with apple butter, a piece of toast.“- PA-Dutch proverb.

The Batch-33 kitchen was ablaze tonight…. Sue Kaplan came by and we finished up a double batch of apple butter (apples from Mrs.Trueby’s tree) that we started yesterday after work, and while it was cooking we made a batch of apple chutney and in between both we made granola. Somehow we squeezed dinner in there too. Tired. . .. It’s kind of strange to be ‘putting-by’ apple products in the middle of summer. Apples come in Fall but here we are in summer with more apples than we know what to do with. Could it be the Voldemort of weather (aka climate change)? Or are there just some apple varieties that ripen in summer? I’ve got to go research…..

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I love making jam. It reminds me of my childhood when my mom would make jam in summer. Apricot was the favorite of course – apricots from the tree that I considered mine. She also made plum jam but it’s the apricot that she was known for and that we loved the most. She made it in a big pot and it smelled so delicious while it was cooking. She skimmed the top and let us eat the foam even before the jam was done. Then my mom put the hot jam in the Kerr jars and covered the top with wax. I always loved when we opened a fresh jar of jam later in the year. Open the top and there’s a layer of wax. Tip the wax to one side, pick it up, and lick off the apricot jam, then throw it in the trash. New jar-o-jam all ready to go. Sue and I don’t do the wax method. We do the boil and seal method and it seems to work fine. We listen for the pop sound of the jars after they’ve cooked in the water bath.

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We aren’t making apricot jam this year – instead it’s apple butter, apple chutney, and later in the summer, plum jam (with my mom) and probably more chutney. The apple butter recipe is really basic – same as for all jam – two cups fruit to 1 cup sugar but we have the added ingredients to punch this up to be something really special and different. Sue and I think the Apple Butter will be especially delicious on brioche French toast – try the bread from Huckleberry’s on Wilshire Blvd., in Santa Monica (huckleberrycafe.com) or pancakes, a muffin of just about any sort, an English Muffin, or even toast – especially sourdough or a thick sliced piece of very heavy multi-grain bread. Maybe even on ice cream or in yogurt.

APPLE BUTTER

(from Simplyrecipes.com)

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Ingredients:

4 lbs of apples – cooking apples

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cups water Sugar (see directions below)

Pinch of salt

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp allspice

Grated rind and juice from a lemon

Directions:

Cut the apples into quarters – do NOT peel or core (there’s apparently pectin in the core and definitely flavor in the peel). Cut out any ugly spots.

Place cut-up apples in a large pot, add vinegar and water, cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until apples are soft about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Ladle the apples into a footmill and puree or, if using a chinois (one of those V-shaped strainers) use a pestle and force the pulp from the chinois into a large bowl. Measure the pu ree and add ½ cup of sugar for each cup of apple pul. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Then…. Cook uncovered in a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring a lot to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure it doesn’t burn or stick on the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth – one to two hours. It is said that the wider the pan the better, as there is more surface for evaporation. You can also cook the puree on low heat, stirring less often but it will take much longer. Then test it for doneness by freezing a small plate and then spooning a small amount onto the frozen plate. If the apple butter is thick it’s done. If it’s runny, its not done.

Sterilize your jars for canning by running them through a short cycle on the dishwasher or placing them in a large pot (typically 12 quarts) of water on top of a steaming rack so they don’t touch the bottom of the pan. Boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse the jars, dry them, and place them without lids in a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Pour into hot, STERILIZED jars and seal. If you plan on storing the apple butter unrefrigerated you’ll need to follow proper canning procedures before applying the lids by sterilizing the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids. Use a hot water bath for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal

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