Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bubba Gump Apples

Apple crisp, apple pie, apple sauce, apple cider... I feel like a Bubba Gump with all the apples we have up in here!

So I told you folks about the apple crisp I made last week from our backyard apples that fell during the windstorm.  Well, they're falling off the tree with little more that a light breeze these days, so we're taking that to mean that these apples are ready for picking!  Shawn got up on the roof of the party shack and we picked some good ones from there.  We'll still need to borrow my dad's tall ladder to get up to the ones higher up, but we got a good 40 pounds or so with just this attempt.

The really good ones we saved in a separate bucket for good eatin'.

Most of them had evidence of bugs getting inside so I cut them open right there as Shawn tossed them down to me and I did a quick quality inspection and chucked the really bad ones into the compost.  The ok ones I cored and the buggy parts cut out and saved in a bowl.  Once I got a good ten pounds of these, I washed them and Shawn and I peeled them.  A majority of them were cubed and went into my big stainless steel pot to be turned into apple sauce.  Into a separate bowl went some other ones that were sliced for apple pie.

I'll give you my recipes for both of these, but for both, I didn't follow any recipe myself, let alone measure much so these quantities are best guesses.  Sorry.

Good Ol' Home Made Apple Pie
(Ever had an apple pie from a store that sucked?  You know the kinds with the gelatinous goo that surrounds the undercooked still slightly crispy apples?  Well making your own apple pie at home will help you realize how inferior those pies really are!)

The last slice...
8-10 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs agave syrup (I've been putting this shit in everything!  It's my new fav sweetener.)
2 tbs flour
1 tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix above ingredients together.  Prepare two pie crusts.  Fill pie pan with apple mixture and top with second pie crust.  Crimp edges together and make sure to slice a couple air holes in the top.  Top with a nice sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and put into preheated 350 degree oven.  Bake for 45 minutes or until some bubbles of deliciousness start showing from your air holes.  Serve warm with ice cream for a dessert or chilled with a cup of coffee for breakfast.  Delish!

Grandma's Apple Sauce
(Much like apple pies, I don't really like store bought apple sauce because it reminds me of wet sawdust.  This applesauce is chunky, with a touch of cinnamon, just like my grandma always has with dinner at her house.  I know most of you haven't had dinner at my grandma's house but trust me, it's always awesome.)

5 pounds of apples peeled, cored, and cubed
1/2 cup white sugar (or to taste)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup agave syrup (here it is again!)
1 tbs lemon juice
5 cups water

Canning Stuff
Mason jars with lids and rings (All washed and sanitized)
Large stockpot that will hold the mason jars
Tongs to grab hot jars and stuff
Funnel (optional, I made one out of the top of a bottle of lemon juice.)

Wash the jars, lids, and rings in a dishwasher or in hot soapy water.  Fill the larger stock pot with water and place it on the stove to heat up till hot, but not boiling.  Add the mason jars before the water gets too hot and have them wait there while the apple sauce is made.  As far as how many mason jars to have ready, just guess and prepare one or two more jars than you might need just in case you guessed wrong.

Put all the ingredients into your other large soup pot.  The water amount is really a guess, you just need enough to bring the water level up to just below the level as the amount of apples you have.  Put it on medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Once the apples heat up and start cooking down, stir them more.  This will break them down little by little so you have a sauce and not justa bunch of soggy apple bits.  Once the apple mixture has boiled for a little bit and is the consistency you like, it's time to start canning.

Get your tongs ready.  Pull out a jar and fill it quickly with sauce (using the funnel like in the pic or not.)  It's generally a less messy procedure with one.  Fill the jar to a 1/2 inch from the top and quickly screw on the lid and the ring.  Put it back into your large pot with the hot water.

Fill the rest of the jars until you have no more sauce and place them all into the large pot to process.  The water level in this pot should be an inch over the top of the jars, but mine's not like that because I like to break rules.  Do as I say, not as I do, folks.

Process (or boil) those jars for 15 minutes, then gently lift them out to cool and wait for the familiar "plink!" as your jars seal in the goodness.  If done correctly, these jars should last in a cool dry place for 2 years or so.

And yes, I did mention apple cider at the beginning of this post.  That is for next time...

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