Youâ€™ve most likely heard of McCutcheonâ€™s Apple Products. If not, Iâ€™m slightly afraid youâ€™ve been living under a rock. It is a fourth-generation, family-owned and -operated company, and has been a Frederick institution for the past 74 years.
In 1938, William McCutcheon was working for Frederickâ€™s Colt & Dixon Canning Co. and was forced to retire at the age of 80. McCutcheon decided he was not quite done working yet and teamed up with his son, Robert, and Robertâ€™s wife, Helen. They bought a used apple press for $25 and began pressing fruit for local farmers.
In the 1950s, they began producing apple cider and apple butter under their own label, McCutcheonâ€™s Apple Products, and began selling their products in their retail store and to other venders in the area. The rest is history.
The current factory and retail store are located on the original factory site on South Wisner Street in downtown Frederick. Theyâ€™ve expanded from selling apple cider and butter exclusively to local vendors and currently distribute to all 50 states. Also, their list of products has grown to include apple juice, other fruit butters, preserves, jellies, salad, dressings, relishes, hot sauces, pickles, sodas and more.
In July, I got the opportunity to go on a tour of the McCutcheonâ€™s factory and meet Bob and Sue McCutcheon and their daughter Christy, author of the McCutcheonâ€™s blog.
As I enjoyed the tour, I learned that the McCutcheonâ€™s factory produces about 300 different products including some products for other companies. The factory has approximately 48,000 square feet of vertical storage space (theyâ€™ve got to store a lot of preserves), and they go through about 1 million pounds â€” or 500 tons â€” of sugar every year.
Bob mentioned during the tour that they were beginning to make some test batches of several new McCutcheonâ€™s beverages including some teas, a cherry lemonade, an apple sweetened lemonade and possibly a McCutcheonâ€™s twist on the classic Arnold Palmer, half apple cider and half lemonade.
They were also waiting to begin construction on a new 35,000-square-foot retail facility, which will also include restaurant and cafe space. This new development is a part of Phase II of the Carroll Creek project that is slated to begin this year.
I always enjoy incorporating local ingredients into my cooking, and the products from McCutcheonâ€™s are no exception. This recipe for bread pudding will be perfect for when the weather begins to lean towards fall.
Apple Butter Rum Bread Pudding
1/2 stale baguette
1/2 cup McCutcheonâ€™s Apple Butter
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
About 3 teaspoons of butter
Preheat your oven to 350Â° F.
Cut the baguette into thin slices and quarter each slice.
In a bowl, whisk together the apple butter, rum, eggs, half and half, brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon until completely combined.
Butter two ramekins and distribute the bread pieces evenly between the two dishes. Lightly compact as much bread as will fit, itâ€™s also okay to mound it on a bit.
Carefully pour a bit of the apple butter mixture onto the bread in the ramekins. Go slowly to make sure the top layer of bread gets thoroughly soaked and then continue to pour over everything so that the bread on the bottom get soaked as well. Continue to pour until you see the egg mixture come to the edge of the ramekin or you run out.
Scatter the remaining butter in small pieces onto the bread, and sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar over everything. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the tops are golden brown; the bread pudding should barely wiggle when shaken.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
This recipe wonâ€™t use up your entire jar of apple butter so feel free to try adding it to a cheddar grilled cheese (I add bacon to mine), use it to flavor your morning oatmeal, or just enjoy a few spoonfuls straight from the jar.
If you canâ€™t make it over to the McCutcheonâ€™s retail store (13 S. Wisner St.), their products are also available online. You can shop the entire selection and find some recommended recipes at www.bobmccutcheon.com.
Editorâ€™s Note: Sarah Withers is the blogger behind www.foodandfrederick.com, where she covers food and life in downtown Frederick. She is also the local behind Taste Frederick Food Tours. After college at the University of Maryland, Withers moved back to her hometown and has lived here ever since. She loves everything about food â€” cooking it, eating eat, serving it to others, learning about it, taking photos of it, even traveling for it. By day she works as a proposal coordinator for a local government contractor.