Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Itsy bitsy spider, and apples

While I was cleaning out gutters the other day, I came across this fellow:

Not anything like his cousin who snuck into the house in a ceramic birdhouse I planned on cleaning in the kitchen sink.  He was HUGE with a high squish factor, so when he climbed out and perched on the edge of said birdhouse, he got a fast ride out the patio door.  Spiders in the yard and garden are okay, but not in the house.  (Which reminds me - a week or so ago, I saw another BIG one in the main bathroom; he scuttled under the baseboard behind the cat box when he saw me coming.  As far as I know, he is still there.  Ugh.)

* * * * *

I spent a good portion of last Sunday processing apples in one form or another.  I started with some hard cider I "made" (no real effort involved, other than finding unadulterated fresh cider and then leaving it on the kitchen counter with the cap off the bottle).  I bought the cider on Tuesday, tasted it on Saturday, and deemed it good.  Unfortunately, I had some kind of allergic reaction to it - I assume from the yeasts.  Undaunted, I used some in this recipe (figuring the cooking would kill off the yeasts).  That was relatively successful, so I decided to freeze the rest of the cider for later use.  I tried to filter it through a coffee filter, which was not successful, and managed to spill quite a bit on the floor.

My previous attempt to use my peeler-corer-slicer was not successful, primarily because the apples I used (IdaRed) were too soft.  After some encouragement from Jessie, I decided to try again, this time with Fuji apples.  Ah.  Much better.

There is a bit of waste, but since I was planning on making sauce with the rest of the IdaReds, the cores, peels, and ends of the Fujis went into the pot as well.

The peeler-corer-slicer actually cuts the apple into a spiral...

which was kind of handy.  The naked apples were kept pretty by a solution of Fruit Fresh, which I also managed to spill.

Anyway, after several hours of work, I wound up with five quarts of sliced apples, six pints of sauce, three pints of cider, and one sticky kitchen.

For fresh eating, I favor a crisp, tart apple.  When Granny Smith first appeared on the scene (30+ years ago?), it was love at first bite.  Last year I tried Gold Rush for apple sauce and as keepers, and they were so tart, they made my stomach hurt.  They kept well in my unheated garage, and sweetened up a bit over the winter, but still very tart.  My new favorite is Cameo, which I had never heard of before this year.  They are just perfect.  I'm not fickle, am I?

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