NCCC is a team-based, residential program that serves 5 key areas: Education, Environment, Public Safety, and Disaster Relief and.......We trained for a month on a campus in Anacostia and then were placed on teams of 9 or 10 people, according to our skills. My team and I fell in love with one another. We bickered, we argued, we beat one another up, and we fell asleep snuggling. We traveled in a stinky 12 passenger van all over the east coast serving in project after project. Our very first “spike” (as travel projects were called) was in West Virginia building a walking trail and educating West Virginia’s most obese county (Putnam) on health and wellness. I totally understood why this county would have a high obesity rating. They had Tudor’s Biscuit World.
Oh dear, how I miss it. Tudor’s is a fast food chain that sells BISCUITS. Honestly, before that fateful day in October 2003, I had never had a biscuit. My family never made them. So, like Hansel and Gretel in a gingerbread house, I dove in. We all did. Here we are: 10 of us generally thin and fit people educating the masses about making healthy food choices while secretly gorging on all the things that contribute to obesity in the first place. Principle among the fattening agents: biscuits and apple butter. I must have gained 6 pounds on that spike.
I’ve not been back to Tudor’s since then, but this fall, due to an amazing find of a Foley Food mill for TWO BUCKS in a thrift store, I decided to revisit what was once an obsession. I mean, I’ve grown up, right? I know how to restrain myself, right?
The first step to making apple butter is to make applesauce. We went back to Homestead Farms to pick a ridiculous amount of apples. There is something very childlike and innocent about applesauce. Unadorned and sweetened little, its mother nature’s most soothing carbohydrate. At the bottom of this entry you'll find the necessary instructions for making applesauce and applebutter. But first I'd like to get on a soapbox about why this is a worthwhile venture. I have a few reasons.
Reason #1: Applesauce is a family-friendly recipe. First, you can teach your child about canning. Which teaches them about following instructions. And also teaches them about a heritage. Which brings you family members together in a kitchen. And allows you to relive fun family memories when you pull jars out of the cabinet months later. And, your child begins a process of recognizing where food comes from. Hopefully they'll wonder the same thing about Doritos someday down the road....
Reason #2: its economical. 30 pounds of apples is basically all it takes as long as you've invested in the jars. We got about 15 pint jars of apple sauce or butter out of $1.49 a pound apples. See how much it costs to purchase 15 jars of boutique organic apple butter at a store.
Reason #3: it planet-friendly. Seriously. Aside from replacing lids every year, the jars are filled, used, washed and re-used next year. There is no waste. That is a priceless investment.
So, to make applesauce (and then applebutter):
We also made apple pie that night. But by 2:00am, I wasn't churning out the best pies in the world. Another story, another day.
So the moral of today's posting is: hit the orchard. Take your family. Create a tradition and teach your kids to be mindful of where their food is coming from. Those experiences truly made me who I am today and I wouldn't trade any of it for a $3.49 jar of grocery store applesauce.