I was "dialoguing" with Harriet (my oldest sister) last week, questioning her about the roadside apples -- the country apple trees. I wondered if I could use those apples.
Harriet wrote back that Bill's mother was interested in roadside apples and they would stop and check them out. Sometimes she would pick a sampling of apples from specific trees in order to test them. If the deer eat them, that's an initial sign they are good, Harriet said.
A tree on June's property, right in the bend from Dobson Road to our lane, has been calling my name. Prior to writing Harriet, I had picked a bucket of those apples and experimented with cooking them and then straining for the juice. I wasn't impressed. The apples were small, I tired of peeling them, and once I cored them there wasn't much left. I told Harriet about this experience. We didn't peel them, Harriet wrote back, going on to explain that they simply cut them up and cooked them -- peels, cores, and all. And then Bill's mother put them through a press. Harriet said she couldn't remember the name of the press, but Mother and Vance had one, too. Aha! The Food Foley! – I thought. Yes, the Foley food mill, affirmed Harriet. I knew right where that old Food Foley was and for once it was where I was!
So, late Wednesday afternoon Nellie and I went down the lane and I picked more apples while she rooted around for "grounders" she could munch. I don't know what kind of apples they are. They remind me of the apples on a vintage tablecloth – mostly yellow green but tinged with red or streaks of red -- very pretty in the afternoon light. Then I chopped them up like Harriet said and cooked them with just a half cup of water until they were mushy. Then I ran them through the Food Foley, a food mill that sieves the pulp from the peels and seeds. I poured the pulp back into the pot, added only a half cup of brown sugar and two teaspoons of cinnamon. Seven cups of lovely applesauce!
But – I wasn't raised this way. My mother made applesauce with "green transparent" apples, cooking apples – quite tart. I don't know if we see those much anymore. The apple tree in the side yard at the Orofino house had transparents, and I used to see them advertised by local valley growers. From those apples Mother would make applesauce and pies. And Mother believed in peeling the apples prior to cooking; she said she could tell if the apples hadn't been peeled – she could taste the peels. Well, my taster just isn't that discriminating, and besides, we all know the peels are good for us.
HOW ABOUT YOU? Do you like applesauce? Do you make applesauce? What's your favorite apple variety for cooking? Which variety is your favorite for eating? KW