apple butter

By on Oct 10, 2010 in fail... or not, love, preserving | 0 comments

Another fall day masquerading in summer’s heat. The apples were nestled together, dozing in the warm air, waiting patiently for their transformation into that most magical of fall elixirs… apple butter. Six pounds of apples were swiftly cored and thrown into a pot so large it would not fit in the sink, then drowned in apple cider made of their brethren pomaceous fruit. The day had been warm, but for the apples, it was about to get warmer. Slowly, achingly, the apples and cider came to a boil, the moist white flesh softening in the growing heat, letting forth a warm tangy scent. It was time for the skins to leave. Slowly, ladle by ladle, the mix was ground through a food mill into yet another pot, emitting a luscious dark puree. The puree was set to the boil again, spices were added, and then… a long slow simmer. Two large pots on the stove were not enough. A third...

the graping

By on Oct 6, 2010 in fail... or not, preserving | 2 comments

Less than 24 hours off the vine, the grapes warily eyed the cold light of the city. Plucked and cooked into a vivid mass, the grapes were ground slowly through a food mill that had been crushing their ancestors for decades. The thick syrupy juice collected below, working through the molecules of the mill and the bowl, delivering a purple blush that belied the vivid magenta of their fresh demise. Unbeknownst to the cook, the grapes had spent their night in the dark confines of the refrigerator in tense communication with the packet of pectin. At the crucial moment, the grapes fighting to their last as the heat went high, the pectin seized into a hundred gelatinous chunks, refusing to release back into the boiling liquid. All chance of jam was lost. The cook, desperate, twirled between the stove and the sink, sifting out the chunks, spraying the kitchen with bright grapey droplets. The...