Wednesday, 13. October 2010 16:17
My Grandma Aggie and Grandpa began making apple butter in 1973. It started when they found a copper kettle for sale for about $100. Together with good friends, four bushels of apples, and ten pounds of sugar, they made this every fall. My Grandpa is no longer with us, but my Grandma is handing down all the tricks of the trade. Meet my Grandma Ag, Queen of Apple Butter Fest.
On a Friday night, we get together and peel apples. The peels are boiled in water to make juice. Bright and early on Saturday, a fire is started beneath the copper kettle and the apples along with some of the juice go into the kettle. It’s all stirred continuously for eight consecutive hours. When the apples are cooked down to mush, the sugar is slowly added along with some cinnamon sticks.
Here, the apples are just getting started.
This is Lisa. She took lots of pictures and is lots of fun.
This is Ellie. Part of the day involves staying nourished on powered donut holes. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
This is our friend Darren. He was in charge of the fire and did a fine job. He is also the youngest old man we know and a great friend.
This is Bernadine. I like her hat and sunglasses.
This is CliffDon. Wife of either Lisa or Donna. I could tell the two brothers, Cliff and Don, apart at the time because of their different jackets, but this was two weeks ago.
No Apple Butter Fest is complete without an organ grinder. This man is a neighbor and just brought his instrument along for a little entertainment. We all got a turn and I got to polka with my Grandma. It was great.
If you’re thinking that organ grinding might be a hobby you want to try, the first step is growing a mustache like this.
This is when Apple Butter Fest gets serious. It’s time to can. Everyone gets a job and there is a dry run (meaning we put down our wine and beer and focus).
First is the pour. My Dad was in charge of this. Meet my Dad’s hand.
The next step is cleaning the jar edges from any sloppy pours (which were minimal, for Dad has a steady hand). At this point, Grandma Aggie had to trade in her crown for a visor.
The boiler of the lids (Craig) passes them of to the lid-placer-onner (JoAnne).
The most important job is the rim-liner-upper. Ellie took this task very seriously and was the perfect person for the job given her experience with various parades of objects (seen here and here and here).
Then, 150 jars later. We were finished.
I didn’t get pictures of the best part. All of us enjoying the
fruits apples of our labor. I think it’s because my battery died. Or maybe I was too busy stuffing my face.
Here are some additional photos. I was particularly interested in this one which I’m calling “Out Take”. If you’re not stirring, your job is to talk about it while having a refreshing libation. I don’t know Lisa well enough to embarrass her so I’ll just say this. I’m glad she’s holding a spatula.
Here’s Grandma Aggie, Judy, and Ellie.
This is Connie and Norman. It looks like they’re not having fun here. I think it’s because they don’t have wine.
More stirring. Because that’s what happened for eight hours straight.
To the right and behind CliffDon is my Dad.
Can’t you just see the heavens opening up and hear the angels sing? This is SO yummy!