This is the third year that we have had the opportunity to make apple butter with Cedar Grove residents.

This is something that everyone – from the staff and residents to their families – looks forward to each year.

We started the fire at around 4 a.m. on a Friday. The early start was necessary to make sure the coals were really hot. We placed the copper kettle on the fire and added 12 pennies to the bottom of the kettle. Next, we added our apple sauce and started stirring.

When making apple butter, you have to be patient. Throughout the day, residents came out to sit by the fire to stir the pot and share memories.

One of my favorite stories was from a resident who told us about her family tradition of making apple butter every year. Different family members would buy apples, peel them at their homes and then bring their own jars to her aunts house. That’s where the stirring happended. Their grandmother would place 50 cent pieces in the kettle, and when the apple butter was done, each grandchild received a coin. Each family member had a job. Whether it was keeping the fire going, washing all the jars or stirring, everyone had a hand in making the apple butter.

Another resident told us this is his 79th year of making apple butter. He shared his family recipe and told us how much he despised peeling apples when he was younger.

It was nice to hear all of their stories and reminisce about the good old days.

At around 2 p.m., our butter was ready to be jarred. We had an assembly line waiting. One person dipped the apple butter. Another put the lid on, then someone screwed the lid, and placed it in their box. That evening, residents enjoyed homemade biscuits and apple butter with their meals. We are already looking forward to doing this again next year.