Friday, October 30, 2009

Applesauce Day...

If you know me well, you will probably have heard about Applesauce Day. It is an annual event--first a bit of history.

[My filled jelly cabinet with jam, soup, salsa and of course, applesauce!]

When I was a child my sisters and I helped my mom can tomatoes, peaches and a variety of other produce. She told stories of when she was a child how Grandpa would put the old canning stove under the tree in the back yard because it was cooler that way. I wish I would have asked if it was electric, gas or a wood stove.

At any rate, they would wash the jars in the back yard in tubs of hot soapy water in preparation for canning. It was a lot of work! [We just put the jars through the dishwasher.]

[Top, apples cooking; below, my son Dusty milling the apples. He put cooked apples in the top of the hopper, cranks the handle and like a miracle, the applesauce comes out the front while the peels and seeds go into a bucket to compost.]

When canned goods first started appearing in stores my Grandma and her friends thought that only lazy people would buy canned fruits and vegetables. I mean, who would do that when you could can your own? How times have changed since then.

At any rate, through the years Mom and I canned applesauce. When we moved to Kentucky in 1992 Mom and Dad would bring apples down from Michigan [on their way back down to Florida] and Mom and I [with some help from Dad and a bit from the kids] would can applesauce. We used archaic equipment and it was really hard work.

[Various friends and family cutting the apples--before you can cook them, they need to be quartered and the blossom end cut out. With back to camera, daughter in law Molly, to the left Jenny and daughter Kate, and new recruits Karen at end and Tricia in foreground.]

This continued till the year my dad died. Mom started to decline with Alzheimer's and she went to live in Michigan permanently-no longer making the treks down to Kentucky with apples. The first year she was not coming I was kind of depressed. I mentioned this to Bob--I mean it is kind of like when someone dies and they won't be at Christmas anymore--except we hadn't celebrated Christmas with my parents for years. But, when fall came, and Mom and Dad weren't there to help me do applesauce, it was really, really hard for me.

[Friends Bethel and Kenji put more applesauce through the mill.]

Bob said, "Maybe you need to modify the tradition. Make applesauce with our kids to carry on the tradition." That was good advice, except our kids were not interested at that time. Too young.
[Jenny and Kate with youngest daughter Violet in foreground, Kenji with son Kai on floor, our son Dusty [back to camera] and daughter in law Jen in Living room.]

So, I called up my friend Jenny who now has 5 children, but I think she and Keith only had two back then, and asked if she wanted to come over for "Applesauce Day." She did. That first year I think we canned about 60 quarts, split them and called it a day.

[Karen and my daughter Kari putting the applesauce into jars, ready to process.]

Since that day in 2001 the tradition has grown. This year we canned 7 1/2 bushels of apples, yielding about 62 quarts and 112 pints, plus we ate a LOT. So, here are some photos of applesauce day 2009.

[ Photos: Karen and Kai tasting the sauce. Isaac to right eating some applesauce too. #2- Some of the completed applesauce, #3 Keith reading to his three youngest kids. As you can see, applesauce day is a family event! I think it would make Mom and Dad smile.]

Take care,

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