Has this happened to you? It’s a warm, blue-sky beautiful, autumn Saturday and in a momentary delirium you resolve to seize the day in that good, old-fashioned way. You decide you’re going to take the kids apple-picking! Your young children look at you quizzically, but they’re game for it.
You spend the car ride to the orchard adamantly denying to your children that you are lost. You declare you’re taking the scenic route and they should look out the window, at which they immediately direct their complete attention to their game boys and DS’s. Good. Now you can look at the map undistracted.
An hour later you arrive at the apple orchard down the road. Your children catapult from the car, and you all go to the “starting station”. While you stuff handfuls of those deceptively-tiny plastic bags into your pockets, your children argue over who gets to pull the cute, little, red wagon. A few moments later, your skillfully, negotiated settlement is moot because they have run off into the trees, abandoning the wagon and leaving you to pull it uphill into the orchard.
Just as your delirious vision showed, your children are delighted with picking apples. They pick as quickly as they can, only pausing to take a large bite out of the most exceptional apples, which, when you arrive with the wagon, they hand to you because they’re “through with them”. Fearing the orchard proprietors who strictly forbid tasting and wasting, you eat the apple evidence. Row after row, the scenario repeats itself with the only difference being that your once empty stomach and wagon are filling up with apples.
Those tiny plastic bags have ballooned and now hold thirty pounds of apples each. Your once-bouncy wagon refuses to steer out of muddy ruts and over grassy hillocks. You’re wrestling a cantankerous mule rather than the idyllic symbol of fall, family fun. You declare that it’s time to check out. By the time you get down the hill, a few more bags have been loaded on. You drive home with the delicious scent of fresh apples over-powering that of the dog. What fun.
Now the work begins. What will you do with 120 pounds of apples? Fast-forward to present day. It’s mid-November and you’ve made apple pie, apple cake, apple muffins, apple bread, baked apples, and apple crisp. The children now refuse apples in their lunch. You’ve got thirty more pounds of apples to go and they are looking as weary as you. You are tempted to let them rot in the basement like you did last year. But with one last effort you make apple sauce. Now you’ve got jars and plastic containers filled with applesauce.
Now what do you do with the applesauce? Here’s a suggestion offered by Jean Hill and Jody Littler, authors of Apples Everything, who no doubt have been in your situation so many times that they wrote a cookbook about all the different possible ways to cook apples. Apples Everything has over 500 recipes and is where I found this recipe for Wisconsin Cheese Apple Pie. It uses up 4 1/2 cups of apple sauce, -not much, but a good start.
Click on ‘Continue reading…’ for the recipe: