For those of you who don’t live in New England, it has been a record year for apples. I assume. I don’t actually know who keeps the records on how many apples New England produces annually, or who counts them, for that matter, and it seems like an unimportant detail to verify because the reality is that we’ve all picked and processed so many apples that we’ve given up doing anything else productive with them and have taken to randomly chucking them at innocent passersby.
Related: does anyone know a lawyer who has a good defense record for assault with undeadly fruit?
It’s a shame, really, because October is actually when many of the really good variety of apples usually ripen, but I am done, done, done. I will not process another apple until 2016. Not one. Even John is exhausted by trying to pick up the apples we haven’t used from our trees, and his brewing hobby has made hime mildly obsessed with the things. We’ve produced about a dozen gallons of cider, a half-dozen pints of applesauce, and a dozen half-pints of apple jelly, and as it turns out, the jelly was my breaking point.
Here’s a little life lesson for you: if you want to make apple jelly and you have the option of starting from cider or juice, do NOT waste your time cooking down the apples. Just press and strain. Maybe you’ll need a little more pectin if you’re not cooking all the weird bits in with the juice, but trying to strain off enough juice for jelly is beyond tedious and you will probably all but ruin your stockpot in the process.
I did, anyway. I swear, that thing hates apples. Thank heaven and Billy Mays for Oxiclean.
My Sunday was basically eaten up by trying to very patiently cook down some wild apples in this crazy mass in order to strain out the juice, so when I actually had enough juice to start the mad science which is messing with pectin and boiling sugar, I had no enthusiasm left to cope with the two pints of jelly which escaped my pot in a mad rush as I struggled to get the heat down far enough to keep the rest of the contents from following suit. If you’re sitting there thinking that four cups of jelly isn’t all that much, you can come clean it off my stove next time and try to salvage that lost 20% of my entire damn day.
Life lesson #2: in all candy-like culinary endeavors, or which jelly is absolutely one, your pot should probably be 30% bigger than you think it needs to be.
Life lesson #3: If you’re making jelly in an undersized pot in bare feet and do not own a dog, you will probably be cleaning burned sugar from between your toes for a week.
Life lesson #4: There is such a thing as too many apples.