One of our favorites fall activities here on the farm is making some of the best traditional food around. At Harvest Festival, along with the craft demonstrations and games we prepare heritage recipes for friends and family alike. For this blog post I am taking a closer look at the processes involved in some of these classic dishes.
Apple Butter has everything to do with apples and nothing to do with butter at all. Apple butter is similar to apple sauce but has been cooked for such a long time, usually with apple cider, that the apples have caramelized turning it a dark brown. It has a creamy texture reminiscent of butter or jam and often eaten like them spread over toast or bread.
At Quiet Valley we work hard to make apple butter in a traditional manner. Days leading up to our Harvest Festival we have an apple party. All the apple dishes for the whole event are prepared including apple butter and apple pies. The apples are peeled, cored, and cut into disks. We use a special copper lined pot that we make the apple butter in. The day before we start making apple butter, we fill it about halfway up with apple cider and start it boiling. Once it has reduced by about half in goes the cored apples until its full. All day we keep the fire burning and stir the pot full of apples. Many a visitor has helped out too!
Historically there used to be cider and apple butter parties where people would gather and take turns making these seasonal items. It was also a great way to meet friends, find someone to marry, make business arrangements and come together as a community. After about 8 hours the apple butter is ready to can to help the deliciousness last longer. We sell these wonderful jars at Harvest Festival and if you are lucky enough, Old Time Christmas too!
Food is important because it brings together a sense of community. Food builds connections across time, language barriers, and gender. Next time you pass a plate, think about passing it to someone completely new.
We also make scrapple and sauerkraut too!