I hate to clean, don’t you? Smell, and so naturally taste is my most alert sense. So, I find it helps to clean to the simmering of something fragrant.
This year our apple tree, bought when we escaped Manhattan, finally yielded a great crop. They’re funky, of course, because of the rain and lack of care. (Or do I just call them organic?) Worse, they’re Delicious, a misnomer, but the only variety left when my city slicker husband went tree shopping. In theory we can graft any variety on, but we haven’t.
The upside? They’re free, fresh, chemical free and we’ve got plenty of them. And they have a family history. I remember when the tree was just a hopeful twig, which we planted while camping in the barn while working on our then-wreck of an 1810 house. Today, I can look at that tree through our cheerful French doors in our kitchen.
I can see them hanging heavy on the tree, as if in an English landscape painting. I picked whatever I could reach on a small ladder. Then, I soaked them briefly in several sinkfuls of water and a little white vinegar, drained and rinse them. They’re mottled a bit, so I cut off anything too funky. I quartered and threw them in my biggest pot with a little water to prevent burning and some cinnamon and freshly grated ginger.
Now, they’re perfuming the house with their aroma. When they’re mush, I’ll push them through a food mill, which will eliminate the skins, seeds and stems.
Applesauce to clean by. The smell may even help me put my clothes away and maybe (or maybe not) dust my cookbook shelves.
The second batch I made with a “utility bag” from Windy Hill, my closest orchard. It’s an economical way to go if you want to make and freeze or can sauce. (Better yet, it was half the price if you pick up drops, but it was raining and so….)