On Wednesday, I did some apple picking with our friend Lara and her friend Jeanie, at a local farm. It was a great day for it and I came home with our truck loaded up with 90 pounds of apples- Liberties and Akanaes.
Yesterday (Thursday), it was a rainy day. Jeff started a fire in the woodstove, not because we needed it, but because it made the house feel so cozy. He spent the day in his workshop creating and I spent the day in the kitchen. I got a big pot on the stove and started filling it with apples. I cored them, but decided to try a new method and left the peels on. I figured I would cook it down into applesauce and then put it through our food mill to get the peels out (an idea from Lara.) In the past, I’ve always cored and peeled them before making applesauce.
After coring box after box of apples, I had one giant pot of applesauce brewing and I was feeling pretty darn happy about it. I wondered how many quarts it would make. I imagined all the jars of applesauce on the beautiful wood shelves Jeff made in the pantry. I made a second small batch of applesauce and added a bunch of elderberries to it. Every year, we like to make a small batch of elderberry applesauce, which we consider our medicinal batch.
At the end of the day we were exhausted, but wanted to get the canning project done so we began running the applesauce through the food mill. It was a beautiful pink color.
Something smelled off.
Jeff tasted it and scrunched up his nose.
Not a good sign.
I tried it.
I began to say “It’s not that bad..”
but stopped midsentence.
It was bad.
Apparently some of the apple peels got stuck to the bottom of the pan while I was cooking it and started burning. There was lots of liquid in the pot and everything looked fine so I didn’t know anything was wrong. I had smelled a strange smell at one point, but just figured it was our stove burner being weird again, which happens.
So even though the applesauce all looked beautiful (except for the very bottom of the pot), there was a smoky burnt taste throughout the entire thing.
At first we brainstormed. Could we add some cinnamon, vanilla, honey…. Anything to fix it up?
I stared at the giant pot of applesauce that I had put so much time and energy into.
I couldn’t stand the thought of throwing all that hard work and good apples out.
I felt like crying (which I eventually did. Sometimes you just need an excuse to cry and it feels so good.)
Jeff tried to cheer me up (bless his heart.)
He exclaimed “Hey! I know! We’ll make Smoky Apple Wine!! It will be a delicacy. We can use it for cooking with and it will add a nice smoky flavor to our meals. It will become a yearly Wilson tradition!”
Then he began being silly to make me laugh.
And it worked.
And I felt better.
Laughing puts things in perspective and seems to make everything better.
I was so exhausted at that point that I was relieved to not do a canning project.
So we have some Smoky Apple Wine brewing in the kitchen and luckily, we had some of that elderberry applesauce to enjoy so I didn’t have to smell applesauce aroma all day without getting to try any. And also luckily, I had two more boxes of apples I was saving for other preserving projects.
Will the wine be any good?
But it will sure make for a great story.
Lara wrote a blog post about our picking adventure. I always love her posts. You can read it here:
Here are some pictures of our day.
Lara’s apples looked so beautiful in her baskets. I want to get some harvesting baskets (boxes just aren’t as photogenic and baskets have so much charm.) 🙂
Me and Lara. (You can see the belly’s grown in this picture.)
Me being silly.
I liked this picture Lara took that shows baby belly. 🙂
Another picture Lara took. Apple picking makes me HAPPY!
This story’s reminder: Remember to Laugh!