Friday, October 03, 2008
The stardust falls upon the apples tonight
as they cling and finally loosen from their roots~ and eventually fall back unto the soil.........
some gently.. and some making a thump as they give up what they have always known
some land where they fell and others roll, refusing to be told what to do
some are darkened and soured by their experience as an apple
some glow in health and ask to be found by a gentle hand as they lay waiting.....
some don't care- they just be in the moonlight and accept what is next.
They come in different colors and no two are the same
different sizes and tastes.........each one unique
They are art and each artist painting one would see different shades,personalities,character
sizes and contrast as the moonlight falls upon them laying in the orchards.
Their sweet smell and taste- the colors they chose to wear as they offer themselves to the deer and bring sweetness to our breath and nourish our bodies. They ask nothing- they just are. they just are apples and the stardust falls upon them tonight.
Ever have a friend through a friend that you feel like you know well because of the connection? My good friend Linda has been friends with Jill, the author of the lovely poem, for many years. When she heard that I made apple butter from apples grown on Linda's thirty year old apple tree, it inspired her to write it, and she gave me permission to post it with my post on making apple butter. And this is a recipe of my mother's, updated for cooking method. Using a crockpot instead of the oven makes it unbelievably simple!
Linda had given me a whole grocery bag filled with beautiful home grown apples. This recipe is very forgiving, and you don't have to be exact. Just peel and dice up all the apples you have. If you have enough, you can fill the crockpot to overflowing as these will cook down. I had enough to fill the crockpot about 80%. Once you have your apples diced, add somewhere between 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. I used 1/4 cup as the apples weren't overflowing. Then you put the lid on, and leave it to cook about 7-10 hours on high, you just need to check from about 7 hours to see when it's cooked down almost all the way. Lift the lid to let the steam out every once in awhile, as you want the saucy apples to reduce. When the apples are pretty soft, use a potato masher to make them into a smooth sauce and continue cooking.
Eventually, your apples will cook down and turn a beautiful red brown. When it's pretty thick, you can add the seasonings. You'll want to taste the apples at this point to adjust the amount of sweetener, sweet sorghum in this case, to your taste. I used 2 tablespoons of sweet sorghum followed by 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon powdered ground ginger. For a big crockpot, you want something like 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon ginger. You can adjust the spices to taste too. After adding the sweetener and spices turn the heat down to low and cook another hour or two until it's the thickness you would like to spread. My pot of apples yielded 3 1/8 cup apple butter.
I made this to submit toWeekend Herb Blogging a couple weeks ago, and waited until I've felt better to write a good post. (I hope you are enjoying this!) Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen started this all off a couple years ago, and she generously shares hosting duties with others. This week, Valentina from Trembom - English Version is hosting. The event is all about using unusual herb or plant ingredients, or using one in an unusual way. The unusual ingredient in this apple butter is the sweet sorghum, also called sorghum molasses.
Regular molasses is a by-product of the sugar making process. Sorghum molasses is made to be just as it is, an amber liquid sweetener full of minerals made from a grass. It doesn't surprise me that my mother used this in her apple butter recipe as it is predominantly grown in the south, and she was from Kentucky.
I'm happy to report that this easy recipe turned out just like Mom's -- it was my first attempt at making apple butter so I am doubly pleased. Dad was very excited to remember his sweetheart's creative southern cooking when he tasted it on his toast!