As Alaskatarian as Apple Pie

A few years ago, my brother and I started a little tradition. It began when I finally acknowledged that he’s a far more dedicated shopper than I’ll ever be and there’s nothing worthy that I can buy for the guy that he doesn’t already have.

He loves apple pie, always has. So every year, on or about his birthday, I make him an apple pie.

Now that I live in Alaska, my pies aren’t so timely. The August birthday boy often doesn’t get his pie until January, but a pie he gets; with a plain crust, tart apples and a hint of lemon, just the way he likes it.

Apple pies at home are easy. My parents’ place is a quick ride away from Bob Weeden’s orchard where I can choose from more than 100 varieties of heritage apples. In Alaska not so much. 

I’ve noticed apple trees for sale at Homer nurseries but up until now, didn’t know there was an actual orchard up here. Who knew Homer could be home to an orchard? Okay, apparently a few people did.

Earlier this week, I was put in touch with Judith James, a lovely woman with a local orchard. I don’t know why an apple orchard in Homer excites me, but it does. I called Judith this week, then high-tailed it out to her place to pick up 25lbs of cooking apples. 

It took two days but I finally put a dent in those 25lbs. Note to self, Alaskan apples are pretty small and when a recipe calls for 5lbs of apples, I guarantee you, you'll be peeling for hours.

I think I shaved a few IQ points off of Little Hunter as he sat in his bouncy seat watching me peel. There's only so many ways to describe an apple to an 8 week-old to keep him happy. If he grows up with an aversion to apples, I have myself to blame.

So two days in and I have seven quarts of apple pie filling in the pantry, ready for my brother's visit next summer. My slow cooker is slowly cooking five pounds of apple butter for Toddler's pancakes.

I made apple butter a few weeks ago and mindlessly left it on the counter while I ran out to the store for milk. Came back to find Toddler had pulled a chair up to the counter and polished off the entire batch in one standing. Thank goodness she's (almost) potty trained. I'll keep better track of this next batch.