When I stand before trees weeping with a summer’s fruit, I experience a primal shift in my guts. I am energized, electrified, entranced. Like, I’m 100% in. No waffling. Attentive and certain.
My feelings are because of three things.
1. It is nothing short of wholesome wizardry. A bare, dry branch shoves out a bud in the spring. And that bud turns into a bee-laden flower. Hundreds of them. Three months later every single flower has morphed into a fistful of fruit.
2. I love the thrill of plucking plums, cherries, apricots, apples, pears, peaches. Even more, I love climbing to the highest branches that carry the largest, most colorful fruit. My legs get all scraped up as I ascend nature’s scaffolding into a honeyed storm of leaves, twigs and this winter’s nourishment for my family. I shake the tree and it shakes me back. We dance together and I laugh every time.
3. I get to do this mostly because of the generosity of friends and neighbors. People who share their abundance with me which feels so so lucky.
My friend’s in laws have a beautiful spread down the Bitterroot Valley with several mature apple and pear trees that they offered up to us. Last Friday, we got our kids to school, loaded up the car with boxes, baskets and buckets and drove south through raining aspen leaves and low slung clouds.
This week I will be sharing a few posts on putting up pears. I had thought about writing about the election but my brain and heart need a break and here in my online plot, I will meditate on the beautiful, satisfying art of making food to nourish my family. And I’ll cast my vote for Hillary with the same conviction I carried while summiting this pear tree.
I made apple pear sauce instead of my regular ol’ apple sauce because all these pears! And, according to my little helpers it is “the best sauce ever of all time.” Especially delicious when served warm.
Straight up pear sauce can sometimes be a little gritty. The addition of tart apples creates a smooth texture and adds a punch to the pear’s sweetness. I don’t know the varieties of fruit we picked but the apple tastes a lot like a Mcintosh. This sauce is simple and pure, using only mother nature’s sweetness. And it’s all made easier by the food strainer I bought last year.
Apple Pear Sauce
makes 6 quarts or 12 pints
you may change quantities and fruit ratios in this recipe without issue
10 lbs apples
10 lbs pears
Quarter pears and apples and toss in a large stock pot. Remove and discard stems; leave seeds and skins. Add about 1-2 cups of water. Cook over medium high heat — stirring the fruit at the bottom to the top a few times — for 15-20 minutes or until fruit is soft but not mush.
Push fruit and run through food strainer in batches, watching all the seeds and skins separate from the glorious golden sauce, working around children who are eating the sauce as quickly as it is coming out. (Margot was fishing with her dad for the day and we were lucky enough to have a good pal stand in)
Alternately, without food strainer: For years I made peely sauce, meaning I didn’t remove the skins before cooking, pureeing and canning. The ultimate easiest sauce! It’s delicious. To do this: remove stems and seeds and proceed as above, cooking until fruit is soft enough to purée. Use immersion blender to purée, skins and all. And then process same way.
Ladle hot sauce into hot, clean jars and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Boom! (Click here for my canning tutorial)
Gobble it up and give it away. Giraffey optional.