Monday, August 17, 2009

Gravenstein Apple Fair

We ended up embarking on the trip to the apple fair in Sebastopol, California this weekend. It was in interesting drive up to the fair, and it took way longer than any time estimates said it would due to the heavy traffic, two hours one way! We were rewarded, though, with a fair right out of the midwest. It took the edge off missing our steam show and threshing bee that I have gone to most years since I was a child. This fair had some of the same things, the early gas engine displays and church groups selling delectable foods, animal shearing, but it also had the added benefit of selling, by the bushel, my new apple obsession: the gravestein apple.

There was a train that pulled kids in homemade barrel cars:

And a maze made out of hay bails, which we could not go into because of my allergies to hay:

I even got to see a mohair sheep get shorn:

The biggest hit, besides Grandma's apple fritter stand, was the all you can drink yard of lemonade.

Dan and I loved this. After you bought your glass, you could drink as much lemonade as you wanted. The stand had two spigots coming out of it so it was serve yourself. The vendors would even fill up your glasses with more ice if you asked. It was a nice thing to be able to stay hydrated all day.

Once we came home, I started into applesauce making. We sorted the apples out into sauce and butter apples versus pie and eating apples. There were few apples with problems, and even those problems were small and only skin deep.

Dan would peel the apples while I cored and cut them up. We don't have a food mill, so we had to do this all the hard way, plus Dan likes chunky applesauce so a food mill is kind of out anyway. We put the apples in a pot with a little water and surprisingly little sugar due to how sweet they are naturally and let them all cook down.

I put the first two quarts full of this plain sauce into jars, and then I added some really nice cinnamon from Penzey's Spices into the pot to make two pints of cinnamon apple sauce. This way we can have plain or cinnamon when we want. We tend to eat more plain than cinnamon sauces, so it worked out nicely.

I hope that they work out. My mom said she always had a hard time keeping her applesauce jars sealed. I hope that these seals stick and that it does not go bad. We will have to see what time will bring. I will be monitoring them for the next week or so to see what develops, or hopefully does not develop!

Today I need to run to the fabric shops to gather some supplies for tomorrow's tent rebuild at 826 Valencia. I am also hoping to get some apple butter cooking away. First, though I need to call my sister, the apple butter queen, to get some recipe and technique advice. Hopefully I can get a hold of her soon! I also would like to get some more hand sewing done on those belts, so I can quit dragging my feet and get them listed. There is also some belt accessory experimentation that I need to do either today or tomorrow as well. So much to do in the late summer harvest season. Hopefully I can keep up the momentum and get a lot done this week!


ERICA said...

i'm a lover of gravensteins too.. and your blog came up in a search for apple butter recipes... did you ever get a good one from your sister?

Fabulous Pants said...

I did in fact get a good recipe from her. Here it is:

4 pounds of apples, peeled, cored, rough chopped
2 cups apple cider
3 cups of sugar, less if your apples are really sweet
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. allspice

Place cut apples, cider, and sugar into a crock pot on high for one hour. Turn to low setting, stir, and crack the lid keeping it open with a wooden spoon or similar item. This should allow the steam to evaporate out of the crock pot. Cook on low for around 10 hours, stirring around every once in a while. I cooked mine overnight. Cook until it is reduced to a very thick sauce like consistency. Using a stick blender, blend up the butter until it is like baby food rather than extra chunky applesauce. Add spices to the butter and cook one more hour on a high setting. Pour into properly prepared half pints. Process for ten minutes in a water bath.

I hope you like it, and it works for you!