So partly by request of my mother, and partly because I can, I am writing about how Jordan and I made apple butter the other day. For those of you not living in the 19th century, fruit butter does not contain butter. A fruit butter is a mix of fruit pulp, spices, and sugar that is cooked down until it spreads like butta….
So why do all this? Jordan and I, though I guess I am the real impetus for all this, are trying to get away from all of this processed food. It has been grating on me the last few year how much we take for granted, the cost of gas, cost of living, and the cost of food. It seems no one realizes the amount of resources that go into getting you that tomato, that tastes like crap in the supermarket. But worse than that is the subsidized structure of agriculture in America. Everybody knows we subsidize our farmers, and that is a good thing taken at face value, but what we miss is the fact that these subsidizes are pointed at peculuar things. Mainly corn. We use corn for everything, but I would venture a guess that most Americans consume more corn in the form of sweeteners (corn syrup) than any other. Yeah, yeah, we are making Ethanols from corn which will save the planet. No. It takes just about as much energy and water to make ethanol from corn as it does to produce gasoline. Sugar cane is much more lucrative for biofuels than corn.
Back to food. We fund corn farming, but not really any other veggie farming. I saw a report saying that if we Americans were to eat per the food pyramid, farmers would have to increase veggie output (not including corn) 5 times! All this and we don’t pay farmers to do this! To me this doesn’t make sense. Combine this with the onslaught of ads for fast food, restaurants and processed junk, and it is pretty easy to see why we are getting fatter as a nation.
So anyway, Jordan and I are trying to take this in to account and so we are beginning to can our own veggies from market (though actually we haven’t started yet…but will after Thanksgiving) and I have been trying to cook our meals at home, from fresh ingredients so we are not relying on highly processed, empty foods. And thus apple butter. My grandma Baker used to make the absolute best apple butter on the face of the planet. She had a crab apple tree in the backyard that was profuse. I looked forward to having apple butter each and every year. With all this move towards canning for Jordan and I, I thought it would be cool to bring this cherished memory of mine back to life and share it with friends and family. Well, it turns out that Grandma never used a specific recipe, she just did it (As was the way with most of her extremely good cooking!). So, I had to search far and wide ala google to come up with a recipe I liked.
We went and bought a food mill ($18 from Meiyers) and a water bath canner and a bunch of apples. So the way it goes, you cut up and cook the apples until soft, then run them through the food mill. The mess that comes out the other end is really tasty applesauce (no need for sugar, it was VERY good). So you put this applesauce in a slow cooker and add some spices, and let it cook for 10-12 hours. The sauce reduces, and smooths out and the end product is apple butter. However for this first batch, we used 4 pounds of apples, which gave us about a pint of butter, so I didn’t bother canning it.
It is very good, I think that we may send out applesauce or butter as Christmas gifts as a cheap, but loving way to share the wealth. Okay, that is enough of ‘housewife’ Frank as Pat jokingly said on the phone the other day 😉