I went apple picking!
For those not from the New York City, let me explain what this consists of: Step one: obtain lovely friends, preferably ones with a car (see exhibit A & B). Step two: attempt to get out of Brooklyn. No, no, that intersection is apparently where movement goes to die. Nope, that tunnel is closed for a run/walk (Why would they close a vital means of vehicular traffic in an extremely congested city for people to walk through, you ask? Because … you know … I have no earthly idea). No, not that way! The Brooklyn Bridge is under construction. Oh, you want to try to get on the expressway? What an excellent idea! … one that apparently has occurred to every other soul in a 5 mile radius.
Did I mention how important step one is? Thank god for good friends. And thank god for a stroll down memory lane, compliments of college-era CDs discovered in the glove compartment! Oh, yes. We were rocking out in the most embarrassing way possible: Windows down. Emo up.
After a solid 2 hours of congratulating ourselves on our fine taste in turn-of-the-century music (2003 was a very good year for very bad music) and our slow but steady progress, we made it to our destination: Fishkill Farms! … and waited in line to park … for 30 minutes.
Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. I can now see that I sound very much like I’m complaining. I’m totally not complaining. I’m just very good at impressions. Actually, I had a blast taking the long way. As exhibit B put it: “I’m not sure if we are constantly failing at expeditions, or totally winning.” Hmm … let’s see. Because of our slow going, we found an insane ruined house that we explored on our way out. Totally winning.
I blame/thank all these misadventures the fact that we picked a beautifully summery October Sunday in the Northeast for our little expedition. Who doesn’t want to get out of town on a day like that?? Nobody, that’s who. And gee, was it beautiful! The moment that we got out of the car, we grabbed some grub at the smokehouse they had set up on the farm, popped a squat on a hill, and chowed down while taking in the scenic upstate New York views.
The moment we were done with the best corn on the cob I’ve ever had the pleasure to encounter (and this is coming from a born-and-bred midwestern girl. Seriously. The best.), we moved on to the final and most crucial phase: Step 3: Pick apples.
Nailed it. And then some. Exhibit A (pictured above) was very sensible. He carefully calculated the number of apples he ate in a given week, multiplied it by the number of weeks he anticipated they would remain fresh, and picked exactly that number. So rational!
I, on the other hand, took a slightly more …. enthusiastic approach. I picked a bushel. A giant bag. A poop-load. I’d estimate it at roughly … all of the apples. I picked all of the apples. To take back to my 350 square foot apartment. Where I (and my boyfriend, A) would totally have room to store them. But I had a plan!! I would make apple butter, can it, and give it as gifts. I was not bothered at all that I had never made apple butter before. Or canned anything. Or that I had very limited kitchen tools and/or knowledge. How hard could it be??
Hahaha! Oh, Middle. Hard. I spent the two hours after I got home reading recipe after recipe about how to make apple butter. This was getting ugly: It would require a food mill (who had one of those lying around??), about two hours of constant stirring (ain’t nobody got time for that), not to mention dealing with an already blooming migraine trying to figure out the correct temperature and method for canning. Pray for me.
So I did what any sensible person would do: I changed my google search from “apple butter recipe” to “easy apple butter recipe”. Clouds parted. Angels sang. And the solution was presented: A crock pot! I don’t have a crock pot. I didn’t have a crock pot. A quick run to the local hardware store and I have a crock pot! Plus a dozen adorably quilted 8 oz. mason jars.
I now present you:
THE EASIEST APPLE BUTTER RECIPE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND.
- Crockpot with two heat settings
- Canning Jars (optional)
- Cutting board
- 5-7 Medium Apples
- 1 cup Sugar (optional)
- 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Wash, core, and quarter your apples. I left the skins on (’cause I’m lazy, and they say a lot of nutrition and color and whatnot are in the skins … but mostly I’m lazy).
Put them in the crock pot. I filled it to just over 3/4 of the way full. Maybe about 7 medium apples.
Add the sugar (however much you want … I went with 1 cup, and the end product was quite sweet), cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar. Stir it up.
Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Stir (things should be good and mushy), re-cover and cook on low for 9 hours.
Transfer to a blender (don’t fill your blender over halfway or you’re going to have a sticky mess and a mess of burns to deal with!!) and process until smooth. Transfer back to the crock pot and cook uncovered for 1-4 more hours or until it’s the thickness you want.
So at this point, you would go into the whole canning process but I am totally NOT QUALIFIED to give anyone advice on that. Google it. Do research. TRUST NO-ONE. Just kidding. But it’s intense.
Or freeze it and it will keep for a few months. Or you could just eat it right away.
I did both.