When life gives you apples, make applesauce

My husband and I were driving down State route 222 a couple weeks ago when I noticed a small apple tree in front of an apartment complex. “Oooh,” I said, “Are those apples??!” Josh rolled his eyes and said, “I am not pulling over so you can pick apples.”

Well I wrote down the number on the sign, and called up the building manager a few days later. When I asked if anyone in the building use the apples, he laughed. He said he had been managing the building for years, and the only thing that ever happened with the apples is that they fell on the ground and he had to mow over them. He was happy to have someone pick them.

I eagerly called Rita and told her I’d found a new Apple tree for us to pick. She went and looked at it and determined the apples needed another week or so to ripen. So we went back this week, baskets in hand, and set to picking apples.

I admit they aren’t the most beautiful apples I’ve ever seen. They are small, many are bruised, but they have the wonderful quality of being free food. I have a hard time passing up such things. I also hate to see food go to waste.

Yesterday I cooked up about half of what we picked into applesauce. Actually they worked quite well for this. They were mildly sweet, and have a nice texture. I added some cinnamon and just a touch of brown sugar.

First I cook the cleaned and quartered apples in water until soft.

Then I run the softened apples through a food mill to remove seeds and skins.

Last step is seasoning and canning.

So the lesson of this week is: when life gives you apples, make applesauce! And don’t be afraid to ask if you can pick from a tree that looks abandoned. You never know – it might be a win/win for you and the owner.

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