In today’s world, most people think of a computer when they hear the word McIntosh.
But, for those of us born before computers, and there are still plenty of us around, it means the crisp, red sign of fall in New England. Macs are also grown in the midwestern states, but they don’t get to the stores until October and are only around until December. I started this article the day before the November/December issue came out so my timing seems to be right for this.
I was born and raised in Connecticut, and each fall there was nothing like taking a short ride to a fruitstand in Watertown, Connecticut, to get a basket of Macs. The apple trees covered the rolling hills and it always meant fall was in the air when these apples hit the stores.
Today, I live in Texas, and each September I start thinking the Macs should be out soon. This year was no different, and a few weeks ago when I walked into the store, there they were, in a big display at the beginning of the produce section. I bought a basket of them and on the way home the temptation was too much for me. While driving I had to rub it on my jeans to get it shinny and that aroma, that only a Mac has, hit my nose. Oh, the memories that flooded my brain.
While growing up, my best friend had horses and we would ride over to the farm that raised McIntosh so we could buy some on the way back from our ride. We each bought one for us and one for the horses, and I’m not sure if they liked them better than we did.
Some years ago I was back in Connecticut to see my family, and my childhood friend has turned out to be a lifelong one. We spent most of my visit together, and one day she asked me what I wanted to do. As she still had horses and we had not ridden together in many moons, I said, “Let’s go on a trail ride.” Her eyes lit up and the next morning, we were on the trail. We ended up riding to the fruit stand that we went to every year to buy Macs. To my surprise, the owner was not only still alive but there waiting for us. My friend had called him to let him know I was visiting, and he picked out a basket just for me. The only thing is we were on horseback and had no way to carry a basket of apples.
Well, let me tell ya, I wanted those apples in the worst way and as we had on bulky flannel shirts, we tucked the shirts in and filled them up with the apples. It was an amusing ride back to the barn and when the horses trotted, well you know what I mean. This is the memory that hit my brain when I bit into that apple on the way home from the store a few weeks ago. When I got home I had to call my friend. This is what McIntosh apples do for me, they remind me of the simple things in life that mean so much and I can’t put a price on.
My grandmother and mother always made applesauce with Macs and so do I. Here’s the recipe for applesauce.
20 apples will make 3 quarts of sauce
Peel, cut into 4 pieces and core apples. Wash them after coring. Put in a large pot on the stove on medium heat, do not scorch. I say this over cooking in a microwave because the smell of the apples and cinnamon will fill the house and watch everyone’s eyes as they come home. You’ll get a kick out of it.
Add 2 cups hot water, 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 4 shakes nutmeg.
Let it simmer and stir the apples every so often. McIntosh apples will break down in about 20 to 30 minutes. No chopping needed.
When they cool a bit put into Mason jars and put lids on them. They can go in the fridge or freezer, but be prepared to make another batch because the children will eat more than you think. In the fridge it will last close to a month. Put over ice cream and you’ll be a hit with your children and their friends.
Suzy Minck lives in Stephenville, Texas, with her husband of 30 years on Milk Maid Ranch.