Monday, September 26, 2011

applesauce

We spent most of Saturday (eleven hours, all told) turning 300 pounds of apples into 82 jars of applesauce.  Sounds super fun, right?  Actually, canning applesauce is by far my favorite, because it goes so quickly and is so easy compared to something like pears.  (Plus it's really easy for the kids to help, plus they LOVE eating apples like crazy.  And we had this for dinner [minus the peaches] and nothing else.)
If you've never made applesauce before, here are a few pointers:
  • Buy "seconds."  This means the apples are slightly imperfect in terms of aesthetics--you can see how the apples in the photo above have blemishes on the skin or are funny shapes.  In all the apples we processed on Saturday, we found only one that was wormy.  The vast majority of seconds are perfectly good eating apples; the farmer just can't sell them as such because they look a little odd.  Seconds are usually way discounted (I paid $15 a bushel this year, but in the past I've paid as little as $6--it just depends on the supply in your area).  Check pickyourown.org or localharvest.org to find a grower near you--go local!  I can't tell you how nice it is to buy food from someone who knows your name.  :-)  Figure on getting between 12-15 jars of sauce per bushel of apples (this time I got 13.66 and the sauce was really thick). 
  • Purchase or borrow a food strainer.  (I have this one.)  This will make your applesauce for you!  Here is the process:  quarter your apples (don't core or peel them), toss them in a stockpot with enough water so they don't burn, and cook them until they start to fall apart when you poke them.  Then drain out the water (reserve it until you see if your applesauce is too thick, then use the apple water to thin it out), put the apples through the strainer, and voila, applesauce!  It is seriously that easy.  Pour the sauce into jars, adjust two-piece caps, and process for 20 minutes in a boiling water canner.  (I would not recommend adding sugar, since most applesauce is really sweet already.)
Have fun!  Seriously, give applesauce a try if you've never done it before--it is the cheapest and easiest thing you can preserve at home.  :-) 

2 comments:

Meghan said...

We did 2 cases of peaches yesterday! Fun learning experience for everyone (I hope). Ruth is pretty excited about canning now.

kristin said...

I did 5 1/2 jars of sauce yesterday from my inlaw's orchard - just added a pinch of salt and some lemon juice from our lemons. You are so right, applesauce is super easy and cheap. Even I, who have only canned four jars of pickles in my life (that turned out horrible), can can it successfully. Ha, ha. Can can.

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