Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Applesauce 101

It's time now to report on what happened to all those apples! I decided applesauce would be the best idea and borrowed everything I needed (except the apples) from friends.

Here's what we started with:

While at the dentist last week, I discovered that the dark green blotches on the apples can be scrubbed off. (The dentist's wife had gotten her apples from the same source.) That meant that I had to clean the apples before making applesauce. That turned into Friday's job.

Let me just say that it was a very time and muscle intensive job to wash apples. I finally decided on just washing the red apples, since they were more oddly shaped, and sending the green ones through a peeler (which I also borrowed). Here are before and after washing pictures:

Also on Friday I started in on some Crab Apple jelly, which I could not resist trying to make. After boiling the cut up crab apples, they had to drain for 12 hours like this:
Also on Friday's list was Black-Raspberry Jam, since I had the canner borrowed and could therefore process my jam. This jam is very, very precious. The 14 1/2 cups I made represent many walks to the woods and dozens of terrible chigger bites.

Saturday morning the applesauce process began in earnest. We set the pots to cook with half red and half green apples, with a bit of apple juice thrown in for extra sweetening:

The kids loved the apple peeler and actually spent most of the morning helping me:

Once the apples were cooked, we sent them through the Victorio Strainer (in my childhood it was known as the Squeezo). It was so wonderful to see that first bit of applesauce coming through! It brought back so many childhood memories!

Michael had to join in on the fun by jump-roping with some of the apple peels -- they were that long!
And here is what the kitchen looked like all day.

I started around 8:30 and by about 3 had the last of the applesauce made and the jars in the canner. We made about 34 quarts of applesauce, most of which were canned in quarts and pints -- a few frozen.
It took me the rest of the afternoon to clean up! The floor was still sticky even after I mopped it! And there was the Crab Apple Jelly to finish -- isn't it beautiful?! I only got two jars, but next time I'll know I can attempt a bigger batch.

And now I'm done in the kitchen with major fall projects like this, at least for the present. We'll see if any more produce comes our way. I've still got frozen raspberries to make into jam at some point.

Note for my British Readers: I wonder if applesauce is a bit of an American thing. When we were in Scotland I could only find it in very small jars in the condiment section, and of course under the name "Apple Puree". I did see it in baby food jars, but of course those were too small to feed a family. Over here in America we seem to eat applesauce in great quantities! :)

What do we eat it with? Well, usually we serve it as a side dish at dinner -- kind of like one would serve a green salad. My kids love a bowl of it plain, or sprinkled with cinnamon for a snack. We also serve it over plain yogurt for breakfast or lunch. It can also function as a simple dessert.


southseaislandhome said...

Hi Heather,
What beautiful jars. That Crabapple jelly looks like a jewel! I think the canning of applesauce is an American thing. We call it stewed apple here in NZ, and usually just boil the apples in a tiny bit of water whenever we need it instead of canning it, and just mash it with a potato masher when it's ready. For my babies, I just stew up the apple and pop it in the freezer in little iceblock containers.. How do you can it, anyway? I'd love to know and try it this year. Do you have to do it the waterbath method?
Have a great day! By-the-way, I figured out the knitting - thanks for your help!
Rachel L

Monica said...

I'm simply amazed! I remember helping mom make applesauce when I was little. I remember the big mess and the hot kitchen, but had no idea of what a big job it was!

I accidentally made apple butter this week via the crockpot. I thought I'd be lazy and not peel the apples and when I woke up in the morning I was sorely disappointed that my creation was nothing close to applesauce. After a little research I discovered that I had the beginnings of apple butter.

willow said...

hello Heather,
As Rachel commented, we eat stewed apple here ( for dessert) but cook it as we need it rather than canning it. I sometimes do bottle a little if we have too many windfalls but prefer to store the apples and cook as needed.
Its a long time ago now but I also remember freezing stewed apples in ice cube trays when the boys were babies.

Amy K said...

How great! I might make some this year too (with Kevin's mom of course, 'cuz I probably would botch it up by myself!) if there's time. I enjoyed all your pics. I'm just getting caught up on the last 8 or so posts. :) I loved the flower pictures--they turned out so great. I'm glad you posted those since we had to miss the wedding. See you tonight!

Heather said...

Wonderful job with those apples Heather! You will really enjoy the fruits of your labors in the cooler months! I made Apple Butter this week and hope to write up a tutorial soon - so many I talk to think it's just too hard, but it isn't!

Lovella ♥ said...

Oh Heather. . .what a great applesaucey day. . you did an amazing job. . loved the pictures of your counter. . and the kids helping and the jump rope display .. so fun.
Oh and your food mill is very impressive.

Ruth MacC said...

Hard work, looks like your husband is a fun guy. He would get along well with mine!