By Lisa Shrewsberry
So, you say you don’t have a 40-gallon copper kettle or a giant bonfire handy, lack the initiative to peel or strain an orchard of apples, but have a hankering for some good old-fashioned apple butter?
We’re all about giving readers options.
Firstly, this Saturday, you could try the old-fashioned apple butter served up at the Fall Festival to benefit Perry Memorial United Methodist Church and their ongoing community outreach programs. Kettle-made apple butter produced by a group from the church at a recent farm gathering will join fried pies and pumpkin rolls ringside at the Triple “P” Throwdown (Kelly Pitsenbarger of Perry, John Peplowski of Saint Francis De Sales and Frank Pennington of Beaver United Methodist), three local BBQ masters declaring holy war to see who’s got the beef or, in this case, who’s Boss Hog. The backdrop to the smoky slam includes inflatables for kids, gospel singing by the Perry Harmony Boys, a charity auction, best of show cake contest and more.
Better than savoring another fall festival is knowing all proceeds will return to the community.
Perry Memorial is a church with open doors and revolving coffers — ones that empty faster than they fill. Pitsenbarger explains the Shepherd’s Table Saturdays, casual lunches served to a respectable showing a year ago, have now grown to hosting over 250 guests for free lunch every last Saturday of the month. “We’re feeding the hungry and they encounter fellowship,” says Pastor Scott Mayberry.
Money raised by the fall fest will also go toward supporting the Shepherd’s Table project along with supporting Hospice of Southern West Virginia and UMCOR, United Methodist Committee on Relief, which provides practical needs to those impacted by natural disasters through their local churches. Perry Builders, a skilled group within the church, will use some of the proceeds to make necessary repairs to the aging homes of some economically disadvantaged locals. And in this day and difficult time, reveals Mayberry, while the church can’t help pay for everyone’s electric bills, they do assist some strapped for cash to keep their lights and heat on through the cold winter months.
Pitsenbarger, a member of Perry Memorial and a respected family practice physician, is also focusing on the “apple a day” benefits of the fruit butter star of this inaugural festival — promoting a sugar free variety for those watching their carb intake and providing vendors with free health information, blood pressure and blood sugar screenings throughout the day.
Apple butter is applesauce’s sultry country cousin, outfitted in highly individual combinations of oils or powders of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove. The condiment with a spice market kick hasn’t seen the day when she left a bread worse off than when she met it, and achieves perfection piled atop hot buttered biscuits, croissants, toast, margarine slicked saltines or spooned right out of the jar. It can turn pumpkin puree into a pie whose transformation is second only to Cinderella’s limo. Its sweet and cinnamon-y smoothness is fall’s version of the perfect red sauce and similarly the longer it cooks, the more it’s worth the wait.
Second to sweating over a searing cauldron or traveling to a local fair or market, those who want hands-on experience at apple butter making, minus the kerchief and kettle: grab your long-handled wooden spoons to stir up one of these crockpot or microwave varieties.
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