Quite a while ago, while I was deep in the trenches of the First-Trimester Blahs, I started the process of making applesauce. The first tiny batch was made from the bounty of our own neglected apple tree and proved so delicious I decided to commit to canning a whole box of apples, this time from the nearby orchard.
I quickly perfected the process, which couldn’t be more simple. Cut the apples, cook, strain, process with food mill… this was as far as the Blahs would let me get. From that point, the Ready-to-Season-and-Can applesauce was transferred to large containers in The To-Be-Canned Staging Area, more commonly known as our chest freezer. I just pulled them out on Friday and finished what I had started months ago.
And now seems like the most appropriate time to interject the first in a series of B. Family Vocabulary lessons, to better allow me to describe this applesauce process in more detail. Listen carefully, and impress your friends with your expanded vocabulary.
It seems we operate with our very own lexicon here at Five Green Acres, and we’re working diligently to pass this, our greatest legacy, on to our child(ren). (Isadora already peppers her speech with perfectly inserted exclamations of “Cripes!”, making our hearts swell with parental pride. Really.) Many of the words of our private dialect are ones we’ve conjured ourselves; Andrew mostly, with my enthusiastic approval. Others are colorful phrases passed down carefully through generations of the B. family. This first Lesson happens to be one of those, I think – something akin to a regional slang expression, but used almost exclusively within the B. family.
The phrase is “Cat’s Ass.” It’s a metaphor, used like the more-familiar “Bee’s Knees” or “Cat’s Meow” in exclamations like, “These cookies (the best I’ve had in a while) are the Cat’s Meow!” Simply insert “Cat’s Ass” here, and you’ve got the jist of this more-colorful exclamation. Surely you can imagine how a handy phrase like this has plenty of practical applications. In this context of making applesauce, I found I just couldn’t express my full sentiment without first clarifying the terms.
Making the applesauce:
In this method, there’s no need to peel or core the apples. Yahoo! Simply cut off the imperfections and embedded worms and throw the quartered apples into the pot to cook until soft. Then, when they’re nice and soft like applesauce should be, transfer the lot to the food mill. (shown in top picture)
Crank the handle and watch the mill separate the rose-colored goodness of the sauce from the chaff of the peel and core. It’s pure magic. If you don’t yet have a food mill and plan on doing any kind of canning yourself, run out RIGHT NOW and get one. It’s the Cat’s Ass. I’ve used it a few times this canning season already and found it to be worth its weight in gold. Think tomato sauce!
I found the inspiration and know-how here, at one of my favorite cyber spots. I chose to add some maple syrup to sweeten it just a bit and dusted with a fresh grating of nutmeg. Have you ever used the whole nutmeg and grated your own? If not, DO TRY. There’s a world of difference between fresh-grated and pre-ground nutmeg. I’d go so far as to say that whole nutmeg is the Cat’s Ass.
Jeweled beauties, all lined up on our pantry shelves…
Oh, and…class dismissed!