Saturday, September 9, 2017

Fond Memories of Putting Up Apples and Figs For The Winter

One of my fondest Fall memories was when we were raising our 7 children.  My husband and I would go to the Farmer's Market early in the Fall and buy 3 baskets of apples.

Apples from the Farmer's Market
I prefer 3 individual kinds of apples (Northern Spy, Machintosh and a green cooking apple which they now call a Granny Smith).  Then we would spend a Saturday sitting around the table peeling, coring and preparing the apples to be put into quart jars for the winter.

Except for the labor involved it is an easy task to prepare the apples so that we could make pies and strudels when there were no more apples.  Today that doesn't happen because the supermarkets carry apples of all varieties in every season but it was a productive day for us as a family.

The jars were prepared in the usual manner by boiling them and then setting them aside.  Once the apples were peeled and cored, they were cut into slices in a rather large bowl and sprinkled with about a third of a cup of sugar and a lot of cinnamon.  The bowl was then covered and put in the microwave for about 15 minutes.

Apples out of the microwave
When the apples came out of the microwave they were put into the waiting jars making sure that there was no air bubbles and set aside to cool.  Once cooled the jar was sealed.  Each jar of apples was marked with the date it was filled.  Once the jars had cooled and were sealed they were put on the shelf in what was once the butler's pantry off the kitchen.  That room stayed cool in winter and kept the jars perfectly.

Applesauce jarred for winter
After we had enough apples for pies and baked goods over the winter we would take the remainder of the apples and run them through the blender to make applesauce to be put aside for winter use also.  The applesauce was put into the jars in the same manner, making sure there were no air bubbles and set aside to cool before sealing.

The apple slices normally lasted until around Christmas time and would be used in strudels for the holiday.  If we were lucky we would have some left over and when the applesauce ran out we would reheat the apple slices and make them into applesauce.  In our family the request for homemade applesauce ran into all the holiday and family gatherings because they liked the homespun variety that I made which I called my "Mountain Sauce" which was almost brown from the abundance of cinnamon.

Figs growing on tree not ripened.
I never made this but my mother-in-law would take grapes and put them up into jams.  That recipe I don't have because it was never written down.  I also found a recipe for fig jam.

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