Did you ever stop to consider the amount of work that goes into that jar of jelly that your neighbor brought you?
Nooooooooooooooooooooo you just tasted it on that piece of toast or hot waffle and say GOOOOOOOD!
And then you begin to wonder what you are going to give her in return. It's a tought act to follow-------believe me.
First you have to wait four or five years for your tree to give you a good crop of crab apples, hoping that the deer dont beat you to it. Then after spraying deer and rabbit repellant on the lower branches, hanging Irish Spring soap in Bull Durham sacks here and there and watering the tree because there wasn't any precipitation this year (until now). Then you get a good crop of apples. Now you have to round up a whole bunch of Jelly jars. They ain't easy to find.
Betty Alderman happened by one day to visit my kids who were here for a granddaughter's wedding, and she unwittingly remarked that someone should make apple jelly out of all those nice looking apples and I slyly remarked it would be nice if she would do that. Well, one thing led to another and pretty soon all my grandkids from Denver, Ramsey, Rock Island, Chicago, Florence, Ky.,Fayetville, N.C., and Brainerd were out picking apples and ended up with two buckets full including a few leaves and twigs.
They complained that the apples didnt want to let loose and it was too hard to pick - so they quit with about half of the apples picked.
I thanked them for their efforts and gave them some balls to play catch with, thinking I would show them a thing or two about apple picking later.
Taking their advice, I waited a couple of weeks before venturing out to pick my share. Wow - the kids were right. The apples hugged the tree and refused to let go. So I got a pair of pruning shears and cut the little devils loose. I ended up with about four buckets full of those delicious red orbs and poured them into a large plastic sack to carry them out to Betty's lake place for transforming into Jelly. I then found out they were quite heavy so I had to ask for help to get them into the trunk of my car.
But wait - we havent even started to make the jelly yet.
First, you have to wash and sterlize all the jelly jars, get out the kettles and the mashing screen cone (kind of like a sieve), and a wooden masher that looks like a small baseball bat. Then you pick out all the leaves and twigs and put the first batch into boiling water until they are ready to mash(about an hour or so). then after they are ready you pour out the apples into the masher cone and mash the daylights out of them into a pan under the masher.
You pour that liquor into another pan so you can boil it some more as you add the sugar. Then you have to wash all those pans and masher and cone every time you use them.
Are you following me with all these steps? The cookbook didn't tell you all these things. They make it sound so easy.
You'd better have some extra sugar on hand because these apples are not the sweetest things you've ever eaten. We've gone thru 4 ten pound sacks so far and we're not done yet.
Betty must have lost 10 pounds working in that hot kitchen.
There were still apples on the tree until I mentioned to my church youth group leader that maybe they wanted to have a money raising project and could sell the many jars of jelly for a nice profit if we furnished them, but first they would have to get some stepladders and finish picking the apples. So they did, and Betty and I furnished the jelly and soon there will be Betty's Mom's recipe - apple Jelly for sale at First Congregational Church. Watch for future announcements.
End of the apple jelly saga.
YIBBY KNUDSEN is a Brainerd resident.
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