Each fall my sister comes from the city for a small-town sleepover and we visit the local organic apple orchard for a day of picking. I think we all look forward to it from the moment the leaves begin to turn. It is the only organic orchard in the state and we love it dearly, for all of its quirks.
Last year we picked in tee shirts, enjoying the sunshine. This year we picked in winter jackets and mittens. This has been that kind of fall, and we're getting outside, despite the feeling of being overdressed for October.
As is custom, we ate ourselves sick or apples and had a blast running among the trees, searching out the best fruit. We left tired, happy, and full. That night we had apple crisp for dinner (really) and fell asleep exhausted.
A day on the ridge picking results in days of kitchen time, making fresh cider in our juicer, and making the easiest (yummiest) apple sauce on Earth (you may recall this post from last year).
Are you ready to make your own? The recipe below is based loosely on Sally Fallon's Applesauce recipe in Nourishing Traditions.
* Large stock pot
* Potato masher
* Food mill (Don't have one? See modification below.)
* 1 bushel apples
* 1/4 c lemon juice
* 1 Tb. ground cinnamon
3 C water or cider
Cut apples into quarters. Do not peel, core, or otherwise trouble yourself with too much work. Add lemon juice and 3 C water to the pot (if you have cider you can use it here too). Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for a few hours, pushing down occasionally with potato masher. Watch out for burning and add additional water if needed.
Mix in cinnamon and cool until warm but not hot. Pass through a food mill. (Ours is big and lovely – another thrift store score, but you can easily find this kind for just a few dollars with a little thrifting effort.)
** Note: if you do not have a food mill, then peel and core the apples and proceed as above. Its a bit more work but still results in delicious sauce.