“Make apple jelly,” she said. “It’ll be easy,” she said.

Only my Mom forgot one key component – me!

I love the apple tree in our yard. In the Spring, it blesses me with pink blossoms that remind me of sweet, marshmallow-y confections. Its perfume scenting the evening breeze. But, like my Christmas cactus that blooms at Easter, come mid-July until well into September, my tree’s harvest is early. It makes my back yard not enjoyable. Instead it’s littered with the rotting corpses of apples, which attracts wasps and pooping raccoons.

I don’t now if the heat got to me this year, but I decided I was going to make something with some these apples before they hit the ground! I grabbed my metal bucket and donned a pair of sneakers, even though I was wearing a sundress. I tiptoed carefully to pluck a few apples from low-lying branches, and yes, even the ground. I felt like a pioneer gleaning from the bounty of her labour, although I’ve never laboured with this tree and Hubby only whacks the branches that make mowing a near-death experience.


My bounty

Initially I just peeled and cored and sliced apples, rolling them in lemon juice and popping them in the freezer for apple pie when it’s not insanely hot & sticky outside. But it’s tedious work, what with all the bruises, wonky spots, and worm bore holes. This is not a job for the squeamish!

For jelly, I only had to wash them, chop them up and throw them in a pot with water – core, skin, seeds, worms and all! I engaged in practical cooking by straining the pulp through a pair of pantyhose (legs removed and tied at the crotch) over a juice pitcher. Then I enjoyed long face steams while I sterilized my jars, and then did a hot water bath to seal the goods inside them.

After an eternity and a few near misses removing said jars with rubber tongs, I made apple…syrup.

So the next night, I decided to persevere and fix my syrup jelly. After a lengthy struggle to remove the lids (obviously I did the bath part right), wherein I nearly cried and Little Guy came to help, I re-sterilized my jars. I re-boiled my syrup with pectin. By bedtime, I had ragged nails and an extra jar of apple…liquid!

I followed the instructions to make jelly very carefully. Then I followed the “fix it” instructions very carefully too.

Sorry, Mom! This pioneer woman failed.

If Plan A fails, remember….there are 25 letters left.

My apple pies better be smashing, or I may do a bit of apple tree smashing with birthday throwing axe!

Happy Weekend!