Every October, my mother’s side of the family in Missouri gathers to make the year’s batch of apple butter. They’ve been doing this since even before my mother was born, back when my grandparents were children. My grandfather’s brother, Kenny, went to great lengths to secure his family’s old kettle from an auction in 1979, and they’ve been using it ever since.
There’s no written recipe- the elders just know the approximate amounts and wing it every year. It always turns out more or less delicious. I do know that it involves copious amounts of sugar, even though they’ve scaled back from the traditional 15 pounds of sugar per bushel of apples, to about 8 pounds of sugar.
My grandfather is pretty much amazing. He was a pilot and a POW in World War II, and his stories are incredible. A favorite part of the day was when Edward (granddaddy), and his brother Kenny and sister Margie were all in the same room, and Kenny told stories about the war. Lou chimed in with what it was like being at home with two brothers in the war. It was emotional for everybody.
My grandfather has even written a book about his experiences, Lest They Forget Freedom’s Price. Check it out.
We jarred over 60 pints of apple butter. I am so grateful for this tradition, and for the 3 jars of apple butter in my pantry waiting to be consumed, and for selfless men like my grandfather.
Kenny and Graddaddy
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