I love free things. Especially when free comes in the form of amazing beautiful apples. My free fruit search began recently when walking around Salt Lake City. I noticed that many houses had fruit trees in their front yards. It seemed to me that a much larger amount of front yard orchards existed in SLC than other cities I have walked. I ate several apples right off the ground during my time there.
As I returned to the great state of Kansas I was blessed to be introduced to an amazing loaded tree in the town of Ottawa. On my return trip to the farm I loaded up with three large bags of granny smith green apples there and then also found another loaded tree between Lawrence & Topeka on Hwy 40 that screamed for me to stop and pick another two bags of lovely red apples. With applesauce in mind I knew that a nice variety of sweet and sour was essential for a good sauce and having two rather tart apple varieties I was on the look out for a sweet variety. Here is where the jackpot comes in. Here is where I encourage everybody to open their eyes, ask questions, and take home the bounty. I have a great apple relationship with some random folks that happen to live near a friend's parents' home. Several years ago when the house was for sale we loaded up on the jackpot of free apples just falling from unattended trees. The next year when the house was occupied I decided to go back and ask if I could pick some apples. Sure enough, these wonderful folks told me to pick as many as I wanted. They have an excellent variety of yellow delicious, granny smith, and pink lady apples. I came home with three more giant bags full of apples.
Yesterday my mother and I spent 12 hours in the kitchen cutting, coring, cooking, pressing, and canning applesauce and apple butter. We managed to go through about half of our apple bounty and stored up 34 quarts of applesauce, 7 pints and 4 half-pints of apple butter. Preserving the abundance is definitely a lot of work, but oh so rewarding. Knowing exactly where my food comes from and exactly what I put into it makes it so real. Our apples ended up being not so juicy so we added some pure apple cider to the cooked apples and have 100% pure applesauce, no sugar added. This is the greatness of real food. So simple, so delicious!