Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh, Applesauce!

I can't even eat commercially made applesauce. It's made from the blandest variety of apple and then artificially sweetened, and the texture consists of water with silty little apple granules floating in it. Homemade applesauce, on the other hand, is pure and beautiful: tart, and delicious, the essence of apple-ness in goo form. My parents were on vacation last week, so, in between waiting on their cat, with the yellow transparent apples at their peak in the front yard and the kitchen to myself, I cranked up the jazz on NPR and had a zen afternoon making applesauce. 

The conical sieve apparatus is used to separate our the peel from the cooked apple pulp. It has been used and passed down through four generations of women in my family. 

I harvested the apples from one of the (too) many fruit trees my mom had my dad plant when they bought their house about 30 years ago. Growing up, she had an apple tree in the yard and loved the idea that you could be playing outside and have a snack that was a gift from nature. I'm definitely grateful for these fruit trees, the joy of nature snacks and the happy hours making and eating dried fruit, pies, crisps, sauces, apple cakes, and my paternal grandmother's wonderful Croatian apple strudel, pogatica. I'm also all too familiar with the smell of rotting, fermenting apples, because having too many free apples results in waste, and when dad wanted to mow the lawn, it was my sister's and my hated chore to clear it of the windfall, sorting the apples into a good bag to bring to the kitchen and a bad bag to dump in the trash. 

Since our apples are grown organically (we don't really tend the trees at all, just receive of their bounty) some apples host bugs. It's not that bad of a problem, it just is. We don't bite into our apples whole, we always chop them up to see what's inside. In the few dozen apples I picked for this batch of applesauce, only one apple had maggots. So that's pretty good statistics. A little poem about apple maggots occurred to me as I discovered, executed, and discarded this little fellow. 

Oh, to be an apple maggot, 
to make my home 
and dwell in the juicy world 
inside an apple.


Christina said...

I was totally on board with having my own apple tree someday until you posted the picture of the maggot apple. Perhaps growing apple trees is not my calling after all.

Great sketches! Making applesauce looks like fun :)

Krista Harper said...

Anita, I think you should try to illustrate a cookbook or two. Those little sketches are so cute!