It's apple harvest time here in Windy Woods.
Our apple trees did pretty well this year.
Yesterday, the kids and I picked some of the apples, I would guesstimate we have harvested about half of the apples now.
I wish I had gotten pictures, as the goats insisted on helping. They actually liked the leaves that got knocked off more than the apples that littered the ground, though they ate a number of those too.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Last night I sliced, ground, and diced apples to start 3 gallons of homemade apple cider vinegar. It's really rather easy, though the original recipe that I used a couple of years ago called for a lot of sugar being added. I'm experimenting with no sugar added this time.
I'm making 3 half gallons by dicing the apples into 1/2 cubes. Filling the jar to the 1 quart mark with the diced apples, then filling it the rest of the way with well water. They'll sit on the counter with lids on loosely to allow air to circulate, but keep out fruit flies.
The other 3 half-gallon jars are have 1 quart of ground up apples that I've filtered the juice from, then the rest filled with water to the half-gallon mark. Again, loosely lidded to allow air, but keep out fruit flies.
These will need to sit like this until the apple pieces sink rather than float, then I'll strain them and keep only the liquid, which I will let sit until it turns to vinegar.
I also strained 1 quart of apple juice from the apples I ground up.
I am wishing I had a full-sized cider press though. The CSA we used to belong to, Sweeter Song, had one that we got to play with one year. It was hand cranked, and really cranked out the juice.
Applesauce and Crumble
Today, we're peeling, slicing, and cooking.
Five quarts of homemade applesauce. I was actually very surprised when I originally looked up how to make applesauce. It's very easy. Put about half an inch of water in the bottom of a large stock pot. Then add your peeled apple slices. You could leave the peels on, but I like it better if they're peeled. Put the burner on high. Once it starts to boil, stir frequently. Let boil for a few minutes, then turn off the burner, and keep stirring. This is really the only hard part, you need to keep stirring as it cools, if you don't, you'll have lumpy applesauce.
Cassidy made a couple of apple crumbles for weekend treats. She used our strawberry rhubarb crumble recipe, but pretty much any crumble would probably work. Since our apples are very sweet and tart at the same time, I think that will work nicely.
I thought about making pies, but I've only ever done pie crusts once, about 30 years ago, and seem to recall that they were a real pain.
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