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Thursday, October 20, 2011

How 'bout them apples!


With a mounting desire for "fresh from the farm ingredients" to prepare homegrown meals, it was time for a leisure ride to the top of Signal Mountain, TN. to check out the fall colors and to purchase fresh apples from Fairmount Orchard. It was one of those days that you couldn’t help but roll down your windows and drive around with the entire family to enjoy life together. Upon arrival to the orchard, I saw a chance to show the kids a different way of life, and not just a place to buy apples. The tractor parked right outside the orchard, along with one of the barns used for storage, framed the view of the orchard perfectly.


We got the chance to see beautiful sun-kissed apples hanging off the trees like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Fall is the time of  year to enjoy a sliced fresh-baked sour dough bread covered in rich, home-made apple butter. So, we bought apples to create the perfect treat for the family -- yes, you guessed it, homemade apple butter. Stayman Winesap apples were our selection to begin this task. Winesap apples are a little tart. They are an apple cultivar suitable for both cooking, and eating plain. They are very juicy and great for making apple sauce or apple butter.

*By the way, if you are ever in this neck of the woods, stop at The Bread Basket for a loaf of the best sour dough bread to eat with your butters. The Bread Basket is in proximity to the orchard.



Apple Butter

Ingredients:

15 sweet-tart  apples

2 cups water

2 cups of sugar

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Preparation:

Wash, peel, core, slice and chop the apples. Put in Crockpot. Stir in Water. Cover and cook on low for 12 hours. Add sugar, cinnamon and stir well. Cover and cook on low for12 more hours. Stir every 3-4  hours. Remove cover and cook on high to allow fruit and juice to cook down. Stir more often till reaching the desired consistency. Spoon into prepared canning jars and proceed according to canning jar instructions. If you don’t want to can your butter, spoon into freezer containers. Do allow apple butter to cool if you are going to freeze.  Makes about 6 cups.



Some people use apple juice or cider instead of water. When you slow cook your apples in water, the end result will be apple juice anyway, so I don’t bother to use anything but water. Cooking your apples with cider or apple juice is not going to enhance the flavor of your butter; fresh spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice will. Another advantage to slow cooking your apples is the delicious aroma that will visit you during the cooking time. Waking up on a cold morning to the smell of cooked apples and cinnamon; that is what fall smells like to me. 


 Also, try a toast with Plum Butter..


A family time without electronic devices and a thumbs up, wow!

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