One of my all-time favorite parts of autumn is applesauce. My granddaddy taught me how to make his mother’s applesauce from scratch (although they threw RedHots, a candy, into theirs to make it pink – I have a different method), and now I’ve adapted it into my own simple treat. If you’re not much of a cook or nervous to try applesauce homemade, this recipe is perfect for you – it’s easy, relatively quick, and fun. When you share it with family and friends for the holidays, they’ll gaze at you wide-eyed and compliment your culinary prowess. Just shrug and smile smugly, ‘cuz you got this in the bag. (Also, they’ve probably only ever had applesauce from the grocery store, which is terrible by comparison, so it’s win/win.)
First: You must select your apples.
Apples come in two kinds: good for cooking and good for eating. It’s not that there’s a huge flavor difference, it’s more of texture difference – apples that are good for sauce are mushier and mealy, and fall apart when heated. Apples that are good for munching raw are crispier and not mealy. (Sidenote: for something like an apple pie, you may want them to stay firm, in which case do not select mealy, sauce-type apples!) It doesn’t matter which one you want to try, it’s just that the stronger, harder apples for eating raw will take longer to cook down and may not create a smooth sauce. But who cares? Experiment to see what you like best.
This is my first real autumn in six whole years! After living in the shadows of mountains and being surrounded by striking sagebrush oceans, I’m back on the East Coast and remembering the autumns of my childhood. They come much more slowly here, giving you the chance to breathe in the colors and textures of changing leaves and landscapes. Have you noticed how different the angle of the light is during autumn and spring? After the blazing and endless sun of summer, it’s so spectacular to me how the light comes in more steeply, sifting through branches and brightening things with a cool fire.
This post isn’t educational at all, I just needed to share these photos with you.
I live in a little nest above a garage, and a gravel parking lot separates my place from the place north of me. When I’m working in my garage-turned-studio, this is what I see if I step outside on a warm day:
No, it’s not a dead dog, it’s my dog looking like a dead dog in the gravel. You’ll notice he doesn’t really bother lying on the towel I put out there for him, which I was sure was more comfortable than gravel and dust. I must have forgotten that he’s a dog.
He lays in the sun until he’s hot to the touch, panting, and needs to seek refuge inside for a few minutes. Then he does it again. I don’t get it, but apparently he’s not the only dog that enjoys baking in the summer heat.
He better get it in while he can – the temps in Central Oregon are dropping quickly! The leaves are changing (fortunately, we haven’t yet had a big ugly frost that drops all the leaves before they have the chance to turn), the birds are singing again now that they’ve kicked all the young out of the nest, and the clouds bring us rare rain. How is autumn looking where you are?
I finally got outside with my camera and took a few fall photos, which I find to be highly reparative for the soul. If you’ve been outside enjoying this fleeting season with your camera too, leave a link to your photos in the comments section.
From a distance, Rabbitbrush is a pretty nondescript plant. But up close…
Even though winter is a hard time for me (the long, dark hours make it hard to do anything but sleep and read books) – like a lot of people – autumn possesses some very real magic. What I notice the most is that the increasingly sideways position of the sun casts a beautiful slanted light onto everything, and some days it feels like a perpetual sunset.
Besides that, the colors that come through in deciduous plants is breathtaking and if I’m not careful, I go driving off the side of the road, entranced. Big fat clouds, sometimes thick and dark with rain, roll through, creating a drama of light that is unparalleled in any other season. I’m not very good at capturing it on (what we used to call) film, but I give it my best. (And then completely oversaturate everything post-process, really, so that it will match how I see it in real life: full, deep, and rich.)
Few things scream autumn like the fire of an aspen tree against a blue sky.