By Jordan Champagne
Photo courtesy of Happy Girl Kitchen Co.
QUINCE JELLY AND APPLE BUTTER
Autumn: It’s my favorite time of the year. We have all had a tasteful journey through cherries, peaches, plums, tomatoes, cucumbers and all the other flavors made manifest under the summer’s sun. We have worked hard to preserve the bounty of this season’s harvest: Strawberry jam, crushed heirloom tomatoes, honeyed cherries, pickles and, of course, apples all help to preserve summer’s energy, captured in a jar to keep us going all winter long. It is time to celebrate! Let the harvest festivals begin!
It is autumn and the old-timers are coming out of the woodwork. Look…they are firing up their 1950s GMC pickups and loading them with half-ton bins of apples. The “built like a workhorse” trucks wind their way down the hills into downtown Watsonville, eventually pulling up to a local landmark: Martinelli’s apple pressing facility. The farmers are in their 80s and remember when Watsonville had a few more apple orchards and a few less roads and the ones that did exist led to Martinelli’s.
In the spirit of those local traditions revolving around apples and food preservation, Happy Girl Kitchen Co. is planning an apple cider pressing party! Come and celebrate autumn and the apple harvest of the region. Community, family and friends are invited to come together and preserve some of the local apple harvest.
The Harvest Pressing Party will be on September 17 from noon to 5pm at our café in Pacific Grove. We will press apple cider, make apple butter and apple sauce and feast on apple cobbler. All will share in the work—and in the loot! Happy Girl Kitchen will have one ton of local organic apples on hand, so tell your friends… Oh, and don’t forget to bring those carboys for the hard cider lovers among us!
Here is a peek at two recipes, Quince Jelly and Apple Butter, that can be wonderful at such fall parties. I have sized them so they can be done at home with one or two friends, if you just cannot make it to the harvest party. Enjoy and happy harvesting!