Those who venture to Lake Metroparks Farmpark in Kirtland this weekend will have a front-row seat in the creation of apple butter and apple cider.
It was the primary way people used to conserve part of the apple harvest, said Valerie Reinhardt, director of horticulture at Farmpark, located at 8800 Euclid Chardon Road. Over the weekend Apple Butter and Cider from Farmpark, Apple Butter and Cider are made on October 2-3.
Apple butter takes two bushels of cut, cored and peeled apples, three gallons of cider and a lot of brewing, Reinhardt said.
“We start around 10:00 am and hopefully around 3:00 pm, it’s over. We bake it until it becomes a dark, caramel and flavorful good thing to accompany your toast, ”said Reinhardt.
Originally, people made apple butter by cooking it with cider to cook the sugar in the cider. After the apples were cooked, they were placed in a covered pot and stored in a cold room or root cellar, or canned.
“In colonial times, they didn’t have plenty of sugar, so they had to use whatever sugar they could,” Reinhardt said. “In this case, apple cider was part of the sugar. Many recipes these days call for sugar and simmer it. It’s cheating, but it doesn’t take that long.
Since this was an important part of getting through the winter and being able to preserve the harvest, every calorie counted, Reinhardt said.
“This is the essence of making apple butter,” Reinhardt said. “Making cider was the other way they preserved the harvest. We didn’t have refrigeration or pasteurization, so they squeezed the cider. They could have had dried apples, they could have kept a handful of very pretty ones wrapped in a barrel that could keep for a while. Eventually, they will become soft.
Refrigeration allows people to have apples year round, as well as with pasteurization and refrigeration people can have cider year round.
“They made cider and cider, being what it is, would get tough pretty quickly after it’s made,” Reinhardt said. “Sweet cider was what you fresh off the press. “
One question that always comes up is the difference between apple cider and apple juice, Reinhardt said.
“Apple juice is basically apple cider that has been further processed,” Reinhardt said. “This is the time of year to get it because the apples are ripening.”
Often times when people buy apple cider or butter at the store, they don’t think about how it got there or what it takes to get it done, Reinhardt said. With an event like this at Farmpark, people can not only see it, but try it out for themselves.
“There is so much that people learn just by attending events like this,” Reinhardt said. “Time depends, I think we’ll have at least 2,000 today, if not more. It’s a beautiful fall day and many people are looking for healthy, family entertainment. You can’t have more family than that.
Apple Butter & Cider Weekend was established six years ago and its size grows every year, said Andy McGovern, Farmpark event manager.
“It’s all about apples,” McGovern said. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s just a different kind of fall event. Farmpark is all about where your food comes from and it’s time to harvest the apples. This is your event.