"You know how big sisters have a way of convincing younger siblings to go along with their plans? They can make it sound really good and sell everybody on their ideas. Well, apparently they don't outgrow that trait. My big sister just did it again."
Dawn's lady friends were laughing at her good-natured comments, but there might have been an element of truth in her words: Doing a tri-family applesauce day on a cold day in December was Laura's idea. "The men and teens will help us some Saturday," she said. "It will be fun!" Fifteen bushels of fun.
Laura ordered a mixture of Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, and Cortland apples and volunteered to pick them up."It doesn't look like too many apples in the back of my van," she said.
She sounded much more cheerful than Dawn and I felt. As the day approached, the two of us were second-guessing the wisdom of doing a mass operation. Our group chat reflected our hesitation.
Me: "Girls. Are we crazy? Fifteen bushels of apples?"
Dawn's immediate response: "We're crazy!"
Laura: "Fun, my dear, Fun! Corn day made great memories! (I was in Ghana when they did 100 dozen ears of corn together.) Maybe not all positive, but stories we can tell our great-grandchildren."
Me: "My question is. . .how many stories do the great-grands need?"
In the end, Laura was right, as big sisters often are. It truly was a fun day.
The men cooked everything outside and used a hose to rinse out the kettles between batches. They also helped cut up apples if they had nothing better to do.
Sometimes one of the slowest portions of doing applesauce is cranking cooked apples through a Victorio strainer. Our day was saved by the loan of a commercial machine that could churn through a large kettle of apples in about a minute.
Only four and a half hours after we started, all fifteen bushels were jarred and waiting to be canned. 309 quarts of applesauce, on the final count. I was impressed.
Equally impressive was that Laura had the interest and energy to make homemade apple fritters for everyone. For part of the morning, she split her time between helping with the applesauce operation and manning the fryer, making it look effortless while she was at it.
|Quality control team|
And since the deep fat fryer was already set up, at lunchtime Laura made everyone cheese fries, too.
After the applesauce was all in jars and the mess was cleaned up, we ladies brewed coffee and played Boggle while the men canned the fruit outside. (Three cheers for our husbands!) We took them coffee periodically and bowls of soup for supper, but they stayed with it all day. They were so cold by the end, one of them said, that their spinal fluid was gelling. Obviously their sense of humor hadn't met a similar fate.
In the future, Laura might be able to sell us on the idea of another tri-family applesauce marathon. Not only was it a fun and efficient way to make applesauce, I overheard her say something about making apple fritters an annual tradition.