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It’s apple butter time!

By Staff | Oct 31, 2014

Shepherdstown Fire Department was abuzz all week as volunteers worked to prepare for the annual Apple Butter festival on Saturday. For the 25th year, the station had folks washing, peeling and cutting apples to be cooked down in one of the nearly two-dozen kettles set up on the bay of the station.

On Saturday, the kettles were filled with bubbling brown sweetness, filling the air with the spicy and tempting aroma.

The kettles filled the company’s bays as the fire apparatus was moved outside. The actual cooking of the apple butter had been done outdoors for years; however, according to company treasurer Denny Barron, it moved inside over the past few years so that the event could be held rain or shine.

This one-day event is one of the largest fundraisers held by the volunteer department, Barron has shared.

According to Chief Ross Morgan, the crew and volunteers made approximately 4,500 jars of the apple butter this year.

Throughout the day, as the content of the kettles were tasted and deemed ready for jars, more than 20 volunteers lined up at the “filling station” as a kettle was transported via a fork lift. Pitchers of the sauce were then dipped and poured into clean quart jars. Passing down the assembly line, the jars were wiped to ensure there was no residue along the rim, lids placed, tightened, labels applied and then boxed for sale.

Added to the hundreds of bushels of apples were sugar and spices including oil of cinnamon and cloves. Barron said that over the years, the apple butter has been made only with Domino’s Sugar.

“People have suggested we go with a cheaper generic,” Barron said, “but I stick with the Domino’s because of the taste.”

The original recipe for the company’s apple butter came from Naomi Miller who helped the crew get started way back in 1990. Miller was sister to AnnaBelle Osbourn, of Shepherdstown.

Volunteers with the fire department were joined by many others who offered their services to help chop apples, stir and finish the product.

Morgan explained that several groups volunteered during the event. Among them were Jefferson High’s baseball team and the Eastern Panhandle Chapter of Alumnae Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.Many more were also on hand.

“We couldn’t make this happen without all of their help,” Morgan said.

Early morning attendees were able to sample some of the week’s apple butter at a breakfast served in the social hall. Topping pancakes, along with eggs, sausage and sausage gravy, the butter gave a touch of sweetness to the hearty meal. Lunch was available later in the day.

In addition to the apple butter, shoppers and visitors could find any number of gift ideas and items at the associated craft fair held inside the station. Baked goods, honey, scarves, jewelry and many more items could be found for purchase just in time for the upcoming holidays.