We went apple picking a couple of weeks ago at Eckerts in Belleville. Honey Crisps. I think its my new favorite apple variety. We picked about 40 pounds of apples. Oops.
Believe it or not, in less than two weeks we have used each and every one of those apples. Many, many were eaten.
The rest have given me a chance to practice one of my hobbies. Canning. If you've never done it, its not really hard, and apples are an easy way to start. You need canning jars, of course. Around here, grocery stores and Walmart carry them. Treat them like an investment--the jars and the lid rims are re-usable. You only need to buy new seals for the tops of the jars.
Several years ago, I bought an "Apple Kit" by Ball that had jars, a funnel, a "bubble freer" (a plastic stick), a magnetic lid wand (for fishing metal lids out of boiling water), and a jar lifter. Plus recipes. All I had to add on my own was a boiling watter canner (a really big stock pot with a rack...you could use any stockpot large enough to hold your jars and enough water to cover them), and food.
Applesauce is about the easiest to make. Apples plus water. Sugar is optional (and with honeycrisps which are sweet enough, I didn't use any). I pulled the ugliest apples out of our collection for the sauce, since no one would see bruises after they were cooked.
Peel, chop, cover with water, cook, and mash. Really, that's it.
You don't want your food to spoil, so follow a recipe and canning directions closely. Its not difficult, but it is kind of time consuming. Personally, I love the process, but some people might find it tedious (for some reason, I enjoy tedious kitchen tasks...I know, I'm strange). I used the applesauce directions in The Ball (Blue Book of Canning), Canning for Dummies, and a few other pamphlets and recipes from Sure Gel and the Ball Apple Kit, etc.
Apple butter isn't much harder than applesauce. It is apples, water, sugar, spices, and a LOT more time. But its sooo yummy.
That Apple Kit came with "apple pie gel" which is a canning-friendly food starch. Homemade, canned apple pie. Great for a quick pie (its already cooked), or to use as a topping in a coffee cake, for ice cream, etc. I do need to figure out if I can buy that kind of food starch separate from the kit so I don't have to buy another one (though the kit isn't much more expensive than buying more jars..)