Monday, December 1, 2008

Apple ending to the story

Recently a friend gave me a bushel of Granny Smiths from her home in the Mimbres Valley. That's not something so unique that it deserves a posting, but this year because of high desert winds right as all of our trees were blooming, a bushel might as well be gold

But I was gifted with these little gems. They were a bit too soft for me to use in the cafè so I decided to make an apple butter out of them. Naturally I went to eG for tips, and naturally member, andiesenji, sent me in the right direction. I'm beginning to think she is one of the great bakers in our country (she's also the source for our amazing crystallized ginger).

So I peeled, cored and quartered the bushel. Added just a hint of water and let them cook and cook and cook. At about 6 hours they were a pot of applesauce and so I added some seasoning. Typical stuff...cinnamon, clove and whatever struck my fancy. But then I added my secret ingredient!

A quarter cup of 6-year balsamic went in. "Balsamic!" you say? Yes, and not the cheap stuff either! My thought was that apple butter is often too sweet (man, I am saying that more and more these sad), and I didn't want it to be a boring apple butter. The tangy sweetness of an aged balsamic, I figured, would be a nice addition. So in it went.

It cooked another three hours until the apple sauce became apple butter. It was done. Perfectly flavored for toast, or for a tart with sharp cheddar. But I had a gallon of the stuff and I didn't want it to go bad, so I decided it was time for me to learn how to can. At my altitude it was 15 minutes in the boil and 5 at rest in the water. Sure enough after about 20 additional minutes on my counter, the tops sucked in and sealed the jars. Who knew it would actually work?!

Then I thought..."I can't really eat all of this." So a label was made and on to our shelves it went at the store. By the end of the weekend it was all sold and now I don't have any for myself. This story doesn't get an end because I have no pictures of my jarred product. We'll just end by saying a few lucky customers have a real treasure...I hope they enjoy it.


Manggy said...

Oh Rob, please tell me you got a good taste of the finished product! Maybe you can buy back one of your jars-- how weird would that be, huh? :P

Gfron1 said...

I kept a bowl for myself. It is very, very good. I'm anxious to hear back from the buyers, but my guess is that they bought it as gifts so they'll never taste it.

Abra said...

Funny, I've only ever seen apple butter made by cooking apples in apple cider. Balsamic, now that's way out there!