Friday, September 7, 2012

harvest 2012: an illegal border crossing

my friend Natalie brought me a bag of Gravensteins from her family's orchard in Portland last weekend. Since she took the train, she probably didn't see the signs saying "do not transport homegrown fruit" which line our highways - but Cass remembered! He chided me for my lapse of memory and sang the "apple maggot quarantine area" song he learned in elementary school. Yes, Washington state guards its apple crop meticulously.

Well, the damage done, I still had to use up those apples (destroy the evidence!). About a third of them were useless, actually - totally brown through and squishy when I cut into them. I salvaged all the good bits, threw in some wild crabapples and some heritage crabs (Dolgo, I believe) and made my first-ever batch of apple butter. I used the recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation since it was my first time, though I reduced the sugar and played around with the spices. It took me two days to really slow-cook it down to the proper consistency, and I had to put it into little jars to have enough to go around for everyone at the holidays, but it totally worked!

I opened one today to treat myself to a tasty early-autumn breakfast of a toasted English muffin with apple butter. Perfection!

(ps. sorry it's been so quiet around here. I've got some things in the works, but they're taking a lot of time - more good stuff a'brewing to show you soon!)

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