Thursday, October 1, 2015

My Friend and those "Nasty Crabapples"!!

Crabapple jelly and juice.

When I was first married we lived in a condo on the second floor.  Our unit was on the end and had windows on two sides (a blessing in disguise); while the inside units only had windows on one wall.

I loved making our new place a home.

Just outside our kitchen window was a crabapple tree.  In the spring, it would bloom with almost- intoxicating, amazingly sweet smelling blossoms!  As the years went by, the tree grew taller and wider as the branches began to reach over our rail and out onto our deck as if trying to get as close to our window as possible.

Then, the crabapples would follow--and oh, what a mess they would make!  

Next to the tree, off of the parking lot, was the walkway with three long risers that led to the door and then into our building.  Sometime early in the Fall, our side entryway was almost always covered with the crabapples that had fallen from the tree.

Then, the bees would come.

I remember asking people questions about the crabapples and what I could do with them--if anything.  Everyone I talked to said that they were good for nothing and all they do is make a mess.  "Aw", I thought, "Really?"    

After we moved out of our condo, I longed for my crabapple tree!!  Oh, how I missed the spring and the smell of those blossoms!

I tucked the memory of my tree very deep down inside of me and forgot about it.  Until now..................almost twenty-seven years later!

When we were on our trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Rancher's Wife and her husband, took my girls to their friend's house to pick crabapples because they were going to make jelly.

Crabapple jelly?!?

"You can't make jelly with those nasty things", I thought when I heard what they were going to do!

While I was away, they juiced the apples and then let them sit overnight so they could get as much juice out of them as possible.

A few days later, after I came home, the girls and I went over to start canning the jelly.

When the jelly was finished, I would have to say that I was a little reluctant to try some since all I've ever heard was how crabapples were good for nothing.

My first taste was not what I had expected.  I didn't really like it.  Even though we put a lot of sugar into it, I still found it to be too tart.

Then, I had my next bite.

Then, I tried it again.

Then, we had it on some warm, fried bread that the Rancher's Wife had made us for lunch.

Now I was hooked! 

This jelly was soooooo good!!  It tasted so clean and fresh!

 I'm really surprised that I liked the jelly because I'm not really a "jelly" person.  I rarely--if ever--eat jelly at all.

I didn't grow up in a canning family, but I can remember when I was very young, my mom canning some mint jelly, which she covered with wax; and when I was first married, I canned some salsa.  But that was the extent of my experience.

It's too bad that I had to move over 400 miles away from where I grew up to learn how to can and taste farm fresh food.  And we've only just begun!
I can see a lot more canning in our future!

When we brought the jelly home for the boys, I couldn't believe how much they liked it too!!

Oh!  If I could only go back and gather all of those crabapples from outside my kitchen window; I would make crush them.  And squeeze them.  And drain them.  And then,

make them into jelly!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That day we canned eleven pints of jelly and a gallon and one-half of juice.  When we run out, we'll be able to make more with the extra juice.

I have learned so much from my friend--the Rancher's Wife.  She and her husband have been an incredible blessing to me and my family.  I wish that all of my friends had someone like that in their life.  Maybe you do and I just don't know about it.  But if you don't, please find someone like that;  your life will be so much richer for it.  They have so much to teach us younger ones! 

When I grow up, I want to be just like my friend, the Rancher's Wife.

September 2015


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