A 1/2 Bushel And A Peck of Apples Part 1

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I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck! A doodle doodle do!

Oh hi there readers! Sometimes there is a song that goes perfectly with a post, and you just caught me singing it. My b. But I like to whistle while I twurk work, and boy have I been busy. It takes a lot of energy to successfully deal with a 1/2 bushel and a peck of apples all at once, but let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…why does this keep happening?!?!?!?!?

It all began at Windy Hill Farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. A very good place to start indeed.


I love visiting my in-laws all year round, but fall is particularly special. If you’ve never been to New England in the fall…then jump on it. It’s spectacular. Great Barrington, where they live, boasts all kinds of wonderful fall activities, and it onIMG_3503.JPGly took my husband 8 years to bring me apple picking. WTF. It’s like he doesn’t love me. This year I knew I wanted to experiment with apples in ways I had never before tried, so I enlisted my siblings and we picked A LOT of apples. A 1/2 bushel and a peck to be exact. Some doubted my ability to handle so many apples, but I did it! I was able to make apple pie, apple butter, apple cider vinegar, and apple brandy! I ate sliced apples with honey for Rosh Hashana, I gave apples away to friends, and I ate many in their unadulterated state. They were crisp. They were golden.  They were delicious. Today let’s talk apple pie and apple butter.  Tomorrow come back for apple brandy and apple cider.  Spoiler alert, apple brandy is the bomb dot com.

Apple Pie

If you aren’t already on that cast iron skillet jawn, you need to do so. And if you are, and you’ve never made an apple pie in said cast iron skillet, then you’re welcome for bringing this new shit to light. IMG_3570The recipe comes from Southern Living and we’ve made this pie three times.  Twice in the past month alone.  Its easy, and you’ll never want to eat apple pie any other way again. I think it’s because the pie is built on a foundation of brown sugar butter.  Mine looks like a mess because my Trader Joe’s pie crust wasn’t properly defrosted and it fell apart.  Don’t worry – it still tasted professional even if it looked far from it. I’m not even going to put the recipe on here; just click on this link to Southern Living – it is perfect.  Enjoy. Would love to see pictures of how yours turns out.

Apple Butter

Melissa’s sister has an apple butter party every year. It involves a copper cauldron, barrel fire, wooden paddle for stirring, and many people. I’d love to go. But this year, I’d like to invite you to an apple butter party for one. Just you, your slow cooker, and a bunch of apples. Oh yea.

IMG_3591Apple butter is a wonderful fall treat. Reasons why you want this in your fridge include toast, oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, a spoon, your finger, your partner’s finger, etc. You can even make a cocktail with it.

Making apple butter is really easy, especially if you have a food mill. I peeled and cored my apples because I wanted to use them to make apple cider vinegar, but if you plan on using a food mill you can skip this step. I adapted a recipe from About Food. It wasn’t totally reliable, but it got me there. Follow my instructions and you should be just fine.


  • 5 lbs of apples (peeled and cored if you don’t have a food mill)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cider or juice (I didn’t have cider so I used orange – I’d like to experiment with cranberry juice in the future)
  • 1-1/2 cup brown sugar tightly packed
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • pinch of salt
  1. Quarter your apples and add them to the slow cooker with the vinegar and juice. Cook for two hours on high in slow cooker.IMG_3948
  2. Mash apples with a potato masher until smooth (it’s OK if there are some small chunks left). Here is where you run the mixture through a food mill if you didn’t peel and core your apples. If you want your apple butter to be really smooth run it through a blender or food processor.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook on low or medium forever for about a day. Mine was going for about 24 hours before it was this thick:

IMG_3954According to Melissa’s sister, you know the apple butter is ready when you put some on a plate, turn the plate upside down, and the apple butter doesn’t fall off. I decided mine was ready when it didn’t fall off the spoon. The length of time your apple butter takes to cook will depend on your slow cooker. When in doubt, keep cooking and don’t give up. It’ll get there.

4.  Store it in the fridge for up to a month or you may can it using the proper techniques.  No Botulism for us. NO thank you. My apple butter was nice and tangy. You can add more sugar if you want yours to be on the sweeter side.

The Billy Penn Club

For the cocktail, tru out The Billy Penn Club. Cocktail credit goes to the infamous Franklin Mortgage Co. Play around with the proportions based on how sweet you like your drinks.  Might I suggest 1 1/2 shots of gin, 1 shot of dry vermouth, half a lemon, a tablespoon of apple butter and the white of one egg? If you aren’t into raw egg, I think it will still work without. Let me know how it goes!

IMG_3597 IMG_3599


About hoochandhome

home improvement, one cocktail at a time
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