It has been a serene day. Morning temperatures were brisk and cool, with the muted melody of the songbirds greeting the day. Their summer's work is finished, and they are growing restless as the nights grow cooler. A few hummingbirds still linger, but they will soon be gone. Farmers are putting up their last cutting of hay, and the sweet scent is blowing in the soft August breeze. Summer is coming to an end.
Country housewives are putting up the last of the garden crops, late corn, green beans and tomatoes. With the bulk of the garden already harvested, they are busy with making sauerkraut, pickled corn and apple butter. We had a wonderful response to the request for Crock-Pot apple butter and all the recipes sound good. My cousin Tony Samples of Procious was the first to call, and he assured me that his recipe was delicious. Jimmy Schoolcraft said it was good, but it lacked pine needles and wood ashes in it.
Tony said it made a good rainy day project, for it takes about 12 hours to make it, as it must be stirred every 15 minutes. Get a good book, and settle down to a good day of stirrin' and readin'. He makes it in an 18 quart-electric roaster, and uses applesauce. Fill the roaster almost to the top, leaving room for five pounds of sugar. Add two packages of Brach's Imperial cinnamon drops and set the thermostat for 250 degrees.
Cook down until you can add five more pounds of sugar and turn heat to 300 degrees. About an hour before it is done, add two small bottles of cinnamon oil. This will make about 15 quarts of apple butter.
Cousin Dollie Townsend of Pinch sends a simple recipe using a Crock-Pot. She says to use 1/2 cup of sugar to each cup of applesauce. She always adds a big bag of cinnamon drops and oil of cinnamon to taste. Fill Crock-Pot almost full and cook all day (or all night) on medium. Seal in pint jars.
Sandy McIntosh (is that not a good name for an apple butter maker?) of Ripley sends a little different one, using some apple juice. Mix one cup of apple juice with eight cups of apple sauce, 4 1/2 cups sugar, two teaspoons cinnamon (or oil of cinnamon for hot and spicy) 1/2 teaspoon of cloves and one teaspoon of allspice. Combine all, pour in Crock-Pot and cook for five hours on low with the lid on. Remove lid and cook for six to eight hours. Put in containers and freeze.
Mrs. Westfall of Sutton submitted her personal recipe for Crock-Pot apple butter, using one gallon of cooked apples, four cups of sugar, four teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of cloves. Use no water or very little. Put in Crock-Pot, cover and cook three hours. Uncover and cook about four more hours, or until thick. Seal in pint jars -- makes five pints. She didn't say what setting she used. I think I'd use high for the first three hours, then medium for the finish.
We received an interesting letter from Gail Childress concerning apple butter making. She writes that she grew up in East Tennessee where they always made their apple butter in a big kettle outside in the fall. She adds that times change, families move away, people die and we alter how we do things. Her mother, Bessie Lochiel, made this homemade version of apple butter for many years.
Mamaw Bessie's Crock-Pot Apple Butter
Two quarts of applesauce or cooked apples
Four to five cups sugar
Few drops of cinnamon oil.
Heat on stove, then pour in Crock-Pot (it will heat faster.)
Cook on high for four-six hours.
This sounds like a great recipe from Dorothy Holmes, who adds that it doesn't require much time after the apples are peeled and cooked. You will need about 15 pounds of Golden Delicious or Grimes Golden apples, peeled cored and sliced. Put in a large pan with about cup and half of water and cook until soft.
Remove from heat and mash with electric mixer, add five cups of sugar (or Splenda) 12 drops red food coloring, tablespoon oil of cinnamon, two tablespoons powdered cinnamon, one teaspoon cloves, and one box Sure-Jel. Stir well and cook for seven minutes, stirring often or longer if you want it thicker. Seal in pint jars.
With such a wide selection of apple butter recipes, you surely ought to be able to find one that suits you. Just reading these recipes makes me hanker for a hot biscuit with butter and apple butter spread on it. We want to get into the parched corn next week.
Right now we need the answer to a couple of requests. Rene Fletch has inherited an iron pot, and needs to know how to clean it. She heated it and used solid shortening on it, and it still turns everything black. Any suggestions?
Marilene Bibb has heard this mentioned a couple of times, and wants to know what in the world is a cornhole game? Well, I don't know either!