Fall in upstate NY was always my favorite time of year. Apple picking with my dad, my Aunt Donna’s homemade pink applesauce with vanilla ice cream and mom’s frantic putting together of bulletin boards and door decorations for her classroom.
Smith College served only to increase my love for fall. Convocation, Mountain Day, apple picking, Halloween themed candlelight dinner. *Sigh*
My first year in Bloomington, several of my friends and I eagerly awaited a trip to the local apple orchard. Imagine our dismay when we learned that you COULD NOT PICK YOUR OWN APPLES. I was distressed. Fall is not fall without apple picking.
And the applesauce? Desperate last fall, I begged my Aunt D for her homemade applesauce recipe. Since I still hadn’t found a place to pick apples in the area, Chris and I settled for Michigan apples from the supermarket. It was delightful all the same, but I still missed the whole experience of getting to pick the fruit ourselves.
Three years later, and, it turns out, that if you know the right people, you can find an orchard that lets you pick your own apples in this area. Of course you have to go quite a distance to get there. But still! Apples! That you can pick yourself!
A couple of weekends ago we headed to Bedford, IN to Appleacres. They’ve got a cute little store where you can buy plenty of apples and other farm-y type things. It wasn’t much of a you-pick orchard as they only had a few rows of trees. But still! We got to pick our own apples! It was Chris’ first time, so it was even more fun.
We picked some Red Delicious apples for eating and some Golden Delicious for apple sauce. I like a sweet-tart apple sauce, so we paired some tart Jonathans that we bought (they were already picked out of them!) with the sweeter Goldens for our first trial run batch of canning. Chris called this batch ‘applesauce perfection’, despite the one cracked jar.
For our second batch, being as stubborn as I am, I wanted to do true Aunt D style applesauce. Macintosh was her favorite and what she usually used when I was growing up. So in true Aunt D style, Macintosh is what it needed to be. We found a former orchard turned country store that was selling Macs they had gotten from an orchard near Indianapolis. I figured I would do just fine with some local apples even if we couldn’t pick them ourselves.
So what does a half bushel of apples look like you ask? Something like this…
Now before you begin making applesauce and canning it, you have to be armed with your cheesy Mr. and Mrs. aprons, like these ones courtesy of my mom. (official *gag* for BFF)
ok, even that one grossed me out…
Since I rambled on too much about fall and apples, I’ll continue the next post by actually showing you the applesauce making and canning process! (c: