Every Fall, my mother and I spend a long weekend making apple butter and some of my earliest childhood memories involve this ritual. The idea of setting aside time to make something homemade to give to loved ones seems crazy with the busy lives we lead, yet you put it on your calendar, you make it happen and you end up having a beautiful, memorable experience. When my mom moved to San Luis Obispo years ago we realized how fortunate we were to have the beautiful apple orchards of San Luis Obispo County with the best locally grown, organic apples right in her own back yard!
Every October, we meet to pick the freshest, and most delicious apples at Gopher Glen Farms. Over the next two days we transform them into the thick but saucey, sweet yet spicey, one of kind spread–apple butter. There are many orchards to choose from in the area. The drive to Gopher Glen transports you to another way of life, seemingly a million miles away from LA, though it’s only about 200! Yes, we are in our 4th year of drought here in California and the supply is diminished and the price quite high, but, you can still find many varieties.
This year we chose the sweetest crispy Fujis…60 lbs. in fact!
Throughout the country at the fall festival and harvest celebrations, apple butter is made outside in giant kettles and the whole community gets involved as it is a long arduous process. Cooking the apples with spicy seasonings for hours (we cooked ours for 18) allows it to thicken to the magical consistency that makes it apple “butter”…yummmmm.
I hope you too can carve out the time and space to create a ritual of your own and all the better if it is something you can make with your hands, with someone you love!