I used to be the queen of kitchen gadgets. If there was a gadget, I had it.
Now I would say that I am maybe the queen's half sister or something.
I figured out, after actually spending a lot of time cooking and preparing food, which kitchen gadgets were actually helpful and saved me time or agony and which ones were just fancy marketing.
A couple of gadgets that I really do use and love came in quite handy yesterday while I was getting ready to take care of the 10 lbs of apples that I bought. (This was the SECOND box of apples I bought because apple box numero uno didn't turn out.)
My mom was remarking to me sometime in the past that she loved Gravenstein apples and was sad that you really can't find them anymore. Well GUESS WHAT?? We have them here in the wonderful Rogue Valley. Yes. We. DO!
So, I told my mom (last year) that I would buy her some and send them to her. Well, when I went back to buy them they were all sold out. Serious.
SO this year I was bound and determined to get some dang Gravenstein apples.
Did you know that there are hundreds of apple varities, but in the US we eat only a handful of varieties? Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Gala, HoneyCrisp (<--the best!!), Pink Lady, and Jonagold, are the most popular. These varities are popular not necessarily for their taste but because they ship well and store well. We have lost many varities of very delicious and interesting apples, including a pink fleshed apple, because the orchards have been cut down to grow the more "marketable" apples. We are a sad, lost society.
Gravensteins are one of the apples that are a great baking apple and are pretty much only grown by heirloom apple growers. Which means that you have to really look for them. Go to an apple farm where people grow apple because they are fun and unique, not because they ship or store well. The Pippen is another great baking apple that used to have a whole restaurant chain named after them: Plush Pippen. Both the apple and the restaurant are a thing of the past.
I did find apples, obvi, and the first batch turned to mush when I follow the directions for canned apples for baking in my canning cookbook.
This time, after a chat with mom, I decided to just freeze them.
First, you have to wash, peel, core and slice the apples. For this, the best thing to have is an apple peeler. Now the one I have is actually called an apple peeler-coorer-slicer, because depending on how you configure the parts you can just peel, or peel, core and slice. The problem: too small of slices. The slices need to be a little more meaty for my purpose, which is ultimately, pies.
The apple peeler is a neato little contraption.
That is so awesome.