“The apples are ready”, Dale calmly proclaimed to me the other day. Every fall we make our own applesauce, but this year, the apples are about 2 weeks ahead of schedule. “Really?” was my reply as I went through the checklist in my mind of all the things I needed to get done over Labor Day weekend. Let’s see, Cross Country Ride and Tie and Potluck, laundry, cleaning, another trip to the State Fair for Brett and Adam’s presentations and project judging, a bike ride and more cleaning. Yikes, no obvious open time slot for making applesauce.

But on the farm, when the produce is ready, you make time for it. It’s probably the hunter/gatherer in us that drives us to fill our pantries and freezers before winter arrives. Our inner voice also says we need to take care of them all, no matter how much we already have. Even if our freezers and cellars are full, we try to make room for more. This summer the tomatoes came right during State Fair and even though I did my best to make soup, sauce and stewed tomatoes, I just couldn’t get them all. As I walked through the tomatoes, spotting the ones that were pass their prime, I felt bad I couldn’t get to them all. Let’s see, if I would have pulled an all-nighter, I could have made sauce and used some of these tomatoes…..

After finishing some morning bookwork, my sights were set on the apples, with my trusty helper Beth at my side. We began peeling the apples. Fortunately, I have the best Mother-in- Law in the world (Thanks Celie!) She came out and helped peel for about 1 ½ hours which really saved time. My taste tester Beth helps determine how much sugar to add. We also needed to be careful not to have the heat too high and scorch the bottom of the pot. We want nice colored applesauce, not jars with brown flecks in them. (Sounds like something a judge would say).

Three hours and three pots of cooked apples later; we’ve processed 14 quarts of applesauce, which will last us almost a year. I’ll make more applesauce later to freeze and I’ll also slice some apples and freeze them for pies and crisps for later this winter.  

So the apples called and I responded. When I put the jars in my fruit cellar and see them lined up with my peaches and tomatoes, a faint smile will come over my face. Yes, it’s hard to explain the call of the fruits and vegetables, but well-stocked stocked shelves tell me the hunter/gatherer in me did alright.

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