The air is getting cooler, the nights are getting longer, I don’t automatically reach for shorts to put on when I wake up. Occasionally in the evening I will put on a sweatshirt. The air conditioning is off, the windows are open. Labor Day is rapidly approaching and with it the new school year. Pumpkin spice is appearing in stores and in coffee shops, but I prefer the smell of apples to pumpkins, which is good because I have apples like you wouldn’t believe.
I spent time today raking up some of the apples from under the trees. I have the blisters to prove it. Before the weather cleared enough to do that, I roped John into helping me process some of the bounty from the day before.
I am obsessing over Great-grandma’s apple recipes right now, so you get to be along for the ride.
First up is Apple Marmalade. I know there are some anglophiles out there that will scold me for calling something that isn’t just peel “marmalade”, but it does have peel in it. I think in the overall categorization of fruit spreads, this is probably really a jam. The way I have been taught is just juice=jelly, fruit chunks or puree=jam, whole fruit=preserves, peel=marmalade, and nuts and dried fruit with fresh fruit=conserves. Feel free to correct me.
I have no idea what kind of apples are on my trees. The “good” has apples that are slightly rosy and have a soft glow. They remind me of a MacIntosh, but aren’t that red and aren’t that flat. They are crisp and slightly sweet. The “bad” tree has apples that are streaky and red-green. The apples are crisp and tart. They make your salivary glands clench in a good way.
And “good” is good because it has more fruit on it than the “bad” tree. You should understand that when I say that the bad tree has less fruit, it still has more apples on it than I have ever possessed at one time in my entire life. In less than an hour using only the stepladder, I was able to fill a laundry basket and a bin full of apples mostly off the “bad” tree.
Back to marmalade. This marmalade smells like Christmas and tastes like sunshine. I sent some home with a friend and she reported it gone almost immediately. I spread some on zucchini bread. It was delicious.
I chose to use blood oranges when I made mine since the type of orange was not specified. It might have been a slightly defiant choice. I do that. I just thought that the red pulp would be pretty. It is. The red flecks in the orange spread make it look spicy.
It also occurred to me when I was reading the recipe that it said to seed the oranges. I don’t remember the last time I’ve eaten an orange I had to seed. This led to a conversation with my mom about the advent of navel oranges. And how our grocery stores rarely carry any type of orange or orange-like fruit that have seeds. I’m sure this has greater significance and says many more things than I’m willing to go into here, but food for thought…(see that pun?)
And just because it’s probably in everyone’s best interest, please adhere to the proper guidelines when preserving your food. If you go to open a jar of this and it seems off, throw it out. From what I’ve heard, botulism isn’t that much fun.