Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wild Apple Butter

Near Moncton there is a village called Memramcook. Besides a wicked chiac accent, Memramcook is home to apple trees growing like weeds. They're everywhere you look. Literally. I think that when Johnny Appleseed was going around, he tripped in the Bay of Fundy and spilled his bag in the hills of the Cookers.

The unfortunate thing about wild food is that it's all too often wasted. I believe it's come to a point in North America where people would sooner trust over-packaged, chemical laden, perfectly perfect food than true food. If I'd give someone an apple from where I picked it and told them where I picked it, they would probably turn away in disgust. If, however, I told them it came from such-and-such a company and wrapped it in a plastic container, they would trip over one another to buy it. I even found a cherry tree that no one was picking from...cherries that were sold 4$ per carton at the market!

I have no such inhibitions. Wild apples growing on the side of the road with spots and worm holes and malformations are a beautiful thing. They are truly organic. No one has screwed around with them. They aren't genetically modified or caked in pesticides. Best of all, they're free (if we disregard the 75 cents it cost in gas to get there from my house).

With my free, wild apples, cultivated on a nice September morning by carefully shaking a few branches and collecting what fell to the ground, I took out the cutting board and a pot and proceeded to make apple butter. Here's what you need: four and a half pounds of apples; three cups of apple cider from a local orchard (I am not yet equipped to make my own...though I'd probably add with a bit of yeast and time if I was...wink, wink); 2 cups of organic free trade sugar; 1 and a half teaspoons of cinnamon; half a teaspoon each of allspice and ground cloves. Boil apples and cider for half an hour. Add the other ingredients and cook uncovered for an hour and a half. Can. How's that for simple!

Now I've got enough apple butter to last me the winter. If you're into cheap and easy, look out your window for food. No one else is going to pick it.

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