Casa Beebe

Kitchen Gadgets

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.

You put the apple on the end of the twisty handle and start twisting. When the apple touches the little arm thingy it peels the apples! You can peel anything that will fit on there, including potatoes! Awesome <—sing song voice.
Then you need to slice and core the apples, for which there is a handy dandy gadget! The apple corer-slicer!

That is so awesome.

After peeling, coring and slicing 10 lbs of apples, with the help of cool gadgets , you end up with something like this:
If you treat them with a little “Fruit Fresh” then they wont turn brown while you are going through this whole peeling, coring, slicing process.
I needed a larger container so I got out a big roasting pan. I added the apples, 2 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg to the pan and mixed it all up.
YUM! Now they are ready to go into freezer bags and wait to be put into pies!!
I got 4 quart size freezer bags filled with about 20 cups of sliced apples. The average 9″ apple pie calls for about 8 cups (Yes really…I was shocked!) of apples, so I have at least two pies worth of apples. It seems like I would get more for 10 pounds of apples…but whatever.
So now, when mom comes for Thanksgiving we can make heirloom Gravenstein apple pies! YAY! Success!
Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget? Is there something you bought thinking you would love but really don’t?? What is your favorite kind of pie??

2 comments on “Kitchen Gadgets

  1. Corrie
    September 26, 2011

    You know, I have never even seen a Vitamix blender. I have no idea what the hype is all about. I don't use my blender that often, and it has always done what I asked it to do…cheap and cheesy though it is. I use my food processor to chop stuff sometimes, but I find that there are specific "things" or recipes that I use it for, and other times I just chop with a knife. I do have really nice knives, though. Thank you Chris! Maybe when this blender gives up the ghost I will have to look into a vitamix.

  2. Shorey
    September 26, 2011

    My favorite and best investment is Vitamix Blender. It chops up onions and peppers beautifully for salsa. I don't end up crying from the onions. Kev is able to make smoothies with frozen fruit and not almost burn up the motor (lack of water)part. lol.

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This entry was posted on September 23, 2011 by in cooking, recipes.
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