There are moments in your life where you are frozen with happiness, and astounded at the boundless possibilities unfolding in your mind. I had one of those moments as I lifted up the first of this fall’s apples and inhaled the spicy autumn scent. Pie, it whispered, cobbler, it crooned, pancakes and apple crisp. Finally, in a moment of clarity, APPLE BUTTER is what the apple said to me. It may sound zany, but it was like the apple was telling me what I should do to make my apartment radiate with delicious smells, and to welcome in the new season of crunchy leaves, cool breezes, hot cocoa, and family.
It wasn’t always this way. I can remember distinctly when apples were not all that exciting. It wasn’t as if my family didn’t buy good apples. My mother and father would budget our apple consumption because each of those organic morsels was about three dollars a pound for the majority of the year. I think therein lies the problem. We ate apples all the time. I don’t really know where they came from, or how some poor tree was manipulated into making apples in the height of summer. Still, those apples would make their way to our fridge and I would dutifully consume them as a weight conscious teenage girl. Frankly, if I could have for the same number of calories, I would have eaten a cookie instead.
It hasn’t been that long since I started eating locally. About a year and a half, give or take, though I did flirt with the idea a few other times in my life. Thus, I am not used to this joy that comes with the changing of the seasons; the urge to happy dance upon smelling good apples in the grocery store. This is not a usual reaction for me, but it happened, and I was very and truly happy.
No, I will not exchange that apple for a cookie!
Food, its smells and sounds and tastes, is supposed to be one of the most evocative of experiences. One can remember a whole childhood through the taste of a popsicle, or the sound of a cream soda being poured. Because I am eating locally, the changing of the seasons is becoming tied all the more strongly to different tastes and smells. I understand now when someone says summer smells of strawberries, and pumpkin pie tastes like family hugs. And I get so excited! I am thrilled for orange season, apple season, fresh peaches and roasted squash. I guess it just shows you that when you eat locally, you get a lot more than you bargained for. Food means and tastes like so much more, when it is within the frame of where and when it was grown. I can’t wait for my next trip to the grocery store, and what seasonal and inspirational whispers I’ll hear in the produce aisle.
This week in updates: Back at home
It still feels strange to be back. It didn’t help that this week was short, and I spent one day honor guarding (folded my first flag!) and the other two up in the air. My legs are sore from just two bicycle commutes, and the sudden need to walk everywhere and hand carry my groceries. Did I really sometimes bicycle to work, run 6 miles, bicycle back, and then go to boxing? Holy freaking crap! The planes feel a little unfamiliar too, as well as having a weekend where I do not have homework. Yes, I have things to do, but none of them have solid due dates. No tests. No study sessions. Mind blown. And the coffee here isn’t as caffeinated. That is taking some time to work with.
But I loved making apple butter, and I love that my apartment windows open to let in all the fresh air. I love walking everywhere, and not being cooped up in a classroom all day. I missed the people here too. It’s nice to see that some of them even missed me back! I especially love having the time once more, to talk to Jesse every night for longer than a few short minutes. It is good to be home!
The recipe: Easy Pink Pearl Apple Butter
This recipe makes three small jars, or two big ones. I have never made my own apple butter before, but can you say taste explosion? The pink pearl apples I got were on sale, and I think the strong sharp flavor of these apples in their native state, made this apple butter especially potent and delicious.
6 cups chopped pink peal apples
½ cup sugar
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. You can either do high temp for 6 hours or low temp for nine. After the apples are baked, blend. You’re done!