Practicality is the Name Of The Game in my family. There is a "famous" family story about me, from when I was about 3-4 years old... walking down the street hand-in-hand with my mom. Suddenly, I saw something in the gutter, stopped and exclaimed "Look Mom, a perfectly good coat hanger!" Ha ha. I was brainwashed from birth! If you can get just a little more use out of something - you are morally obligated to do so!
My grandparents had two big apple trees at their house, and every year they would be bombarded with gallons and gallons of buckets. I can remember so many visits to their house - just stopping by on the way home from school, or coming over to say hello - where I was (happily) roped into helping pick the apples off the tree and fallen apples up off the ground.
The good ones were salvaged for eating in the way that normal people eat normal apples. The ones that had been overcome with rot or bugs were tossed. But then, that left the other 75% of the apples : the so-so ones! These apples might be damaged or bruised or have a few obvious bug intruders - but would also still have some salvageable chunks of apple left; they went into a 5 gallon bucket.
Many people wouldn't be so concerned with making use of every good bit, but driven with the deep ethic of not letting things go to waste, my grandma would put them to use! Every year she would can up many jars of applesauce. She never added sugar, and in fact, she even left the peels on. I'm not sure if she actually liked the peels in there, or just didn't mind them. Either way, I can vividly remember her boasting to me about how easy the whole process was if you just didn't bother with peeling the apples! She also liked her applesauce more on the chunky side of things, so she didn't have to put it through a food mill to smooth it out. She had the whole thing down to a quick, easy, and super-practical methodology!
remembering Grandmommy's applesauce
These days, we have an apple tree of our own, and every year (about this time), we are suddenly overloaded with more apples than I know what to do with. As a confession, I have come to appreciate those apples that are overcome by bugs, so that I can toss them with a clean conscience. The bugless apples are very rare, but those are also special treasures, because apples actually keep for quite a while in a cool, dark place. But, the vast majority of our apples fall into this so-so category in the middle: good enough for applesauce, but not good enough to set aside to keep.
The whole situation leads to many mixed emotions. I feel happy about having apples. I feel guilty about letting any partially-good segment of an apple go to waste. I feel tired just thinking about all those apples out there waiting for me. But, most of all, I feel happy about having apples. Every year I end up making my own giant batches of applesauce. Like my grandma, I never add sugar. Unlike my grandma, I do peel them. I just can't get into the peels in my applesauce. I usually make some batches super chunky, because I prefer chunky applesauce for a snack. But I also make some smaller jars of super-smooth applesauce, so I can use them for baking. A lot of times I use half-oil and half-applesauce to reduce the oil in baked goods, and I like having little mini-jars of applesauce on hand.
there are just a few remaining jars from last year!