Apple butter from the food goat’s test kitchen

So what screams Autumn more than apples?  Nothing.  Nothing whatsoever.

Every year, the bear and I drive to Ellijay, GA and hit up a few of the apple orchards there.  Usually we just come home with some cider to ferment, but this year, I had an idea.  I wanted to make apple butter.  And holy shit did we buy some apples.

After doing some Internet research, I found that Winesap apples are supposed to be really fabulous for making apple butter.  Unfortunately, a friend said that the Winesaps were bitter this year, and after tasting them, we agreed.  However, we weren’t discouraged for long.  We decided to get 4 varieties of apples and see which one made the best butter.  Here are the contenders:

Red Delicious (which we paired with Kraken rum)

Red Delicious

Red Delicious apple

Gala (which we paired with a rich, deep chocolate stout- and I also neglected to take a picture of)

Granny Smith (which we added cinnamon schnapps to)

Granny Smith

Granny Smith Apple

Mutsu (which was added to Grand Marnier)

Puck prefers Mutsi.

Mutsi apple

My basic recipe was this:

1/2 peck apple of choice
2 cups turbinado sugar
1 cup booze of choice (except for the stout, which I used 1 1/2 cups)
3 tsp cinnamon


It took us about 3 weeks to finish all the apple butters, with a side foray into pumpkin butter as well.  (I’ll try to get the recipe from Bear, as that was his baby)

They were ALL delicious.  What I found was that the type of alcohol used made very little difference, but I still feel like it needed some sort of boozy twist.  Maybe that’s just because I’m Irish.  The stout added the tiniest bit of earthiness, but it was very, very subtle.  And the cinnamon schnapps, which I thought would definitely show up, just blended in like the others.  As far as the apples go, it depends on what you’re looking for.  My favorites were the Red Delicious, which became super sweet, and the Granny Smith, which retained some of their acidity and was a bit more appley tasting.

If I had to choose one to do again next year, I would have a hard time choosing.  I would either do Red Delicious with the stout if I was looking for something sweet and syrupy, or the Granny Smith with any liquer for something more fruity tasting.  One thing to note is that the Granny Smith melted down into goo easily, while the Red Delicious kept their shape and had to be pureed longer in the food processor.  I thought it would have been the other way around.


Bear’s Pumpkin Butter

“I like roasted it, and added some stuff.”


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Our poly is not like your poly

I was invited to march with the Vancouver Poly...

Vancouver Polyamory group in the 2011 pride parade (Photo credit: theslowlane)

I’ve hinted at some of our dating activities in this blog before.  Anyone who knows us well knows that Bear and I love each other like crazy.  Anyone who knows us REALLY well knows that some of that love spills over onto other people on occasion.

Polyamory, for those who haven’t heard the term, is the notion that a person can love more than one person at a time, and can have serious relationships with more than one person as long as there is open honest communication.  It’s that open, honest communication that distinguishes polyamory from cheating, which involves lying and sneaking around.  Also, it’s the loving relationship part that distinguishes polyamory from swinging, which is mostly about having sex with others, but not necessarily any emotional attachments.

Man, I wish we were just swingers.  Life would be a lot easier if we were swingers.  The problem is that Bear and I both tend to get attached.  So we have trouble with the notion of casual sex or friends with benefits.  In fact, we’ve gotten attached to the wrong people (together- we always date together) more than once.

It would be fine if we could mitigate that damage by dating several people, only getting and giving small portions of attention/emotion, but that’s just not the way it goes for us.  We just do better seeing one person at a time, and giving them all of us.

This is why our poly is not like the poly of others.

I always thought that polyfidelity was our ideal.  With polyfidelity, the group consists of more than two, but it’s closed to dating outside of the group.  I always thought we would end up with a third, and I’ve chased that.  We’ve had some success, made some really close friends, had our hearts shredded, but we’ve always come out of it stronger than ever because our commitment to each other has never wavered.    There’s always the hope that that one person who ‘gets us’ exists, but we haven’t had any luck finding that yet.

So we went the other way and experimented with more casual dating.  It was nice, but left me feeling like I was just one of a crowd for the other people involved, and kept me from really investing any emotion.  I’m a rather serious person when it comes to relationships, and if I’m not investing, I eventually get bored and wander off.  Great sex isn’t enough to keep me involved for very long.

So where are we with all this?  Honestly, as much as I dwell on it and wonder what it takes to make it work and where I’ve gone wrong, I’m finding myself very bleh about the whole thing.  I don’t know if I even want to bother dating anyone right now with all the writing/health issues/work issues/holidays coming up/insert other excuse here.  And Bear barely gets involved anymore, even if things are really promising.  I think he’s just tired and expects the inevitable split, so why bother?

I’m certainly not jaded about love and relationships.  How could I be with my amazing Bear here to remind me how insanely good things can be when you find the right person?

I guess I’m just taking a break.  That is, until I get bored one night and start browsing my favorite dating sites again.  Then it’s on like Donkey Kong.  The truth is that Bear and I are too boy crazy to stop looking for long.  😀

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