Monday, November 26, 2012

A month of gratitude, part sept - apples, recipes, pop!

We’ve made a dent in the apples.
You might remember, we hauled home two bushels of apples from an orchard in North Carolina. With half of my fridge space and a cooler on the porch occupied, the apple recipes took priority over other experiments for a matter of weeks.
First, we made applesauce. My mother has a little more experience with canning than I do, so I was happy to have her on board. We used Dzidra Zeberiņa’s recipe from Ģimenes pavards, the Latvian equivalent of Joy of Cooking or Taste of Home.

Ābolu biezenis
Veselus, nebojātus  ābolus nomazgā, izgriež kāta un zieda galus, sagriež šķēlēs un vāra ar tik daudz ūdens, lai nepiedeg, kamēr mīksti. Izspiež caur sietu, tad liek atpakaļ katlā, uz 3 tasēm biezeņa liekot 1 tasi cukura, uzvāra vēlreiz, tad tūlīt lej traukos, atstājot apmēram ¼ collas platu brīvu telpu. Viegli apmaisa, lai nav gaisa burbuļu, uzliek vākus, karsē verdošā ūdenī 10 minūtes (paintu un kvortu traukus).
We peeled and cored a lot of apples, sliced them, then boiled them in a very large pot with just enough water so they wouldn’t burn. When soft we pressed them through a sieve, returning the result to the pot. The recipe called for 1 cup of sugar to every three of sauce, but we cut back significantly on that, adding only 1 cup sugar to about 9. Once the sauce boils again it must be immediately poured into sterilized mason jars (which hopefully are also hot, so that they don’t crack from sudden temperature change), leaving about ¼ inch free space. Stir to let any bubbles escape, wipe the mouth of the jar clean, put on the lids, and return to boiling water for 10 minutes.
The absolutely best part of the whole process…. A little pop! If there is a good seal between jar and lid, the boiling creates a vacuum within the jar, and the lid makes a little noise when it pops in. I missed the first pop but my mother caught it, it came not long after removing the jars from the boiling water to cool on the counter. She said the sound brought her immediately back to her childhood, and described the scene on my great-grandfather’s farm. I must have been a little too young those last autumns before the property was sold, because I don’t remember the canning, but I have a new association with that exhilarating little pop: the kitchen of our new home, my two boys playing on the floor, my mother at my side and enough applesauce to last us at least a little while.
We boiled all the apple peels extensively and my mother used the resulting juice to make apple jam. Don’t ask me for the particulars, I only know pectin was involved. I learned how to seal jam jars with paraffin, and even after giving my mom a few jars to take home and gifting a few jars to neighbors, we have enough for ourselves.
We used less than a quarter of the apples for sauce, so it was on to other uses. I made apple pancakes a few times with the recipe that is responsible for thousands of pancakes at the Cultural Festival in Chicago, back when anyone could serve food without special permits. Very easy, only it requires a few hours, and so is best served as a late breakfast or brunch!

Chicago Cultural Festival’s Latvian Apple Pancakes
3 eggs
5 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
½ ounce fresh yeast
¼ cup warm water
3 cups of peeled, cored and sliced apples
oil or butter, for cooking
Beat the eggs and sugar, then add the milk, salt and flour. Mix well. Proof the yeast in the warm water, then fold into the dough. Add the apples. Let rise in a warm place until doubled (which occurs faster if you’ve mixed in warm milk in lieu of cold). Then cook over medium-low heat (I prefer to cook in oil), flipping once until both sides are a beautiful golden brown and the pancake has cooked through. This makes enough for a hungry group of four!
There was an apple-pork loin in there as well, of course an apple pie or two (ok, maybe three or four!), and these delicious apple-walnut muffins from Joy of Cooking. Roberts says he’s the “apple guy” at work, and Lauris has taken to opening the fridge himself to grab an apple when he just can’t wait for mom to feed him. I can proudly say that despite the apple overload, we haven’t grown bored of them just yet!
And that, my friends, is the story of how we came to reclaim our refrigerator from two bushels of apples… just in time for Thanksgiving leftovers!

* Today I am grateful for a husband that kept both the boys occupied for over three hours while I did some shopping. Not quite black Friday shopping (more like grocery shopping!), but with that satisfaction that comes from having a week's worth of dinners in the fridge.


  1. What a lovely family tradition you have with the applesauce, and the memories that it holds for your mother as well. And how lovely to be creating that for your own sons. Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. xx

    1. Thank you! I wish I could transport myself back to that kitchen 40/50 years ago and watch all the canning my grandparents did; they grew rasberries, red and black currants, gooseberries, rhubarb, and tons of other stuff they would can or jam... I have started more as a hobby than out of necessity, but I look forward to some experimentation!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...