Nothing is more eagerly anticipated in late August early September in Vermont than apple season!
There are so many varieties to choose from and the orchard is a perfect outdoor school classroom. When I was a classroom teacher, there were many songs to share with our class about apples. The chorus of one of them (pages long, with unending verses) went: “Hey Ho you feel so fine lookin’ out across the orchard in the bright sunshine. Hey Ho, you feel so free, standin’ at the top of an apple tree!”
The Kindergarten and the After School chefs made applesauce this October. There are two schools of thought about how to prepare it. One involves peeling, coring and dicing the apples, so that once they’re boiled in a bit of water, they turn to mush and are ready to eat or to pack away in freezer bags. The other (my preferred method) is just to cut the apples into quarters and cut the quarters in half. Put them in a pot, stems, seeds and skins and all. Add water to about 1/3 the way up the apples and simmer, stirring a few times until all of the apples are soft. When they’ve cooled, use a food mill to strain out the inedible parts and enjoy. The skins impart untold vitamins and a rosy pink color to the sauce. You can experiment with additions like cinnamon or honey. Some of my After School chefs thought allspice would be a good addition. They said it made the applesauce taste like apple pie. Be creative and try adding different spices to small batches. My daughter wants me to freeze some for when her baby comes to visit with nothing added….just the great taste of apples.