By: Virginia R. Manuel
In the fall when there was an abundance of apples some were canned, some were dried and some were made into pies and some were sulphured.
Now you might ask, What are sulphured apples? Sulphured apples was just another way of preserving a bumper crop of apples instead of letting them go to waste.
In the cellar my Grandma had various sizes of crocks. She had a ten gallon one she made sour kraut in and one she kept pickled beans in and another crock she used just for sulphuring apples.
We got a lot of our apples from the big pound apple tree that sat in the field just past the barnyard. My Grandma would go and gather a couple buckets of apples and sit on the back porch in the shade to peel and quarter them. Then she would go to the cellar and get out her crock, wash it out with clear creek water and set the crock outside the cellar door because of the strong sulphur odor. She would then lay the apples in layers in the crock. On top of the apples she put a plate and an old pie tin with a couple tablespoons of sulphur in it. She would light the sulphur on fire and quickly cover it with an old oilcloth to keep the fumes from escaping. The apples had to be checked pretty often either to add sulphur and to stir the apples so they cooked evenly. When the apples had turned white and she had determined they had sulphured enough she would remove the remaining sulphur and the oilcloth and cover the crock with a clean white cloth.
When she wanted apples for supper she would remove what she needed from the crock and rinse them to get rid of the sulphur taste, put them in a skillet with butter and sugar and fry them until they were good and done. Those apples on top of a hot biscuit slathered with butter tasted just as fresh and delicious as though they had just been picked from the tree.
In our modern world when it comes to preserving food we should try to hang onto some of the old customs and ways of our forefathers but all that hard work and sulphured apples are things of the past.