How much do you really know about the Berkeley Springs Apple Butter Festival?

Even though thousands have attended the annual Columbus Day weekend event, there’s a lot that even the most loyal fan doesn’t know.

Ready to learn some fun facts?

Here’s some apple/butter trivia to help make your visit even more enjoyable:

Apple butter ain’t easy to make:

Local purists slow simmer the fragrant, tasty spread in giant copper kettles in the town square. There’s constant stirring with long-handled, spoon-bill stirrers. But the process actually begins before dawn, and continues throughout the day. It takes hours before the bubbling mixture is ready to be sugared, spiced and put in glass jars.

Neighbors are part of the apple butter making process:

Pleasant View Community Center and Stotler family members will be making the apple butter at the festival. But more than a half-dozen vendors also cook it prior to the festival when it can also be purchased.

Apples, apples and more apples:

Did you know it takes bushels and bushels of apples to make just one kettle of this tasty spread? Usually about 10-12 bushels are required for a standard 40-gallon kettle. The apples are peeled and quartered in a process known as “snitting.”

Sugar, spices and everything nice:

Apples are stewed in cider, and stirred continuously for eight hours. Sugar is added, and spices too. Cinnamon and cloves in either oil or powdered form are crowd-pleasing favorites. But every group has one person who decides the amount and taste to add.

Say when:

The apple butter isn’t finished until it is thick enough to stick to an upside down saucer. That’s when it can be canned, and sold to hungry fans.

Hard work has its rewards:

The best is yet to come for those who labor all day to produce a perfect kettle of the popular spread. They get to clean the last of it from inside the kettle with freshly baked bread.

More to the apple story:

Want to show what you can do with an apple, and love to bake? There are plenty of opportunities to compete in categories that include breads, muffins, rolls, cakes, cookies, pies, pastries and of course, apple dumplings. Last year’s winners included caramel apple poke cake, apple pie bites, caramel apple blondie cheesecake and chocolate apple pops.

 

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