Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Grand Rapids, Ohio Applebutter Festival 2008
Hey kids, what time is it? Its Grand Rapids Applebutter Festival time! The time of year when boiled cider and shredded apples are cooked down in a multi-day process to make a tasty spread for biscuits, bread, pork, or whatever you like the flavor of applebutter on. It you've been with me for a while, you might remember the photos I posted of the 2007 Applebutter Festival and the 2008 flood in Grand Rapids, Ohio. This year, I was badgered into taking Michelle's point-and-shoot Sony DSC-W80 instead of my Canon S3IS for portability reasons. Since I don't plan on publishing any of these images, the slight reduction in quality doesn't bother me that much.
I'm heading to Albuquerque, NM this week to present my current research at the Annual Meeting of the American Studies Association, and had been toying with taking Michelle's little camera, also for portability reasons, but since I've never set foot inside New Mexico, I'll take the S3IS--it has more features and memory than my first notebook computer--and shoot my heart out. Of course figuratively, not literally.
Would you like to be cool and make your own applebutter? Well here's a recipe (ATTENTION: the first step may be a deal breaker, if so, just buy 4 pints at next year's fest):
Procure a 50-gallon copper kettle (if you don't have one, Helen Picking Neff of the D. Picking Co. in Bucyrus, Ohio can fix you up with one. Just be aware that it will be hand made, just as they have been since 1874, and D. Picking is so back-logged with orders, it may take approximately one year for delivery. Remember, cost must NOT be an issue--this is a kettle you are buying for your great-grandchildren).
Stoke a fire and set up the kettle over the flames. Be sure to have an ample supply of fire wood as the next process will take an entire day.
Boil 15 gallons of fresh-pressed cider down to approximately five. Reserve for day three.
Peel and core approximately 38 bushels of apples, cover and reserve for day three.
Fill the the 50-gallon copper kettle with the boiled cider, and and 30-or-so bushels of the peeled and cored apples. Stoke the fire under and continue feeding it throughout the entire process. Bring to a boil, With a long-handled stirring stick, keep the apple butter stirred constantly. Add more apples as the mixture cooks down. Somewhere around hour 6, check the apple butter for consistency, you do this by dipping some out and putting it on a slightly-tilted plate. you are looking for the "run" or the "weep" to go away. Then start to add 75 pounds of white sugar, stir until dissolved and applebutter is back to a full boil.
Ladle cooked mixture into hot, pint-sized jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space place seal on jar, then screw down ring, and place upside down for 30 minutes-or so.
Yield: approximately 350 pints
Also at the festival, tasty local foods: Silly girls, one with a Buckeye nut necklace and the other with a Buckeye nut key chain. It is an old traditions that Ohioans carry a nut from the indigenous buckeye tree in their pocket for good luck:
Big crowds, and long lines for bean soup and bison burgers:and tasty, open-pit chicken from our friends at the Tontogany, Ohio VFW:
And many other activities, such as corn shelling using antique equipment and bike rides:NC