Sunday, 26 October 2014

Fall means applesauce

Last year was my first year making applesauce. My older daughter, Valerie, would specify "applesauce that  you made" so she would get mine rather than store bought. My younger daughter is somewhat indifferent. If I send applesauce in her lunch, she'll eat a few bites, but that's about it. Valerie will eat the better part of a pint if I let her.

Last year I bought apples from a local farm that we picked ourselves. It was rather expensive. I also bought some at the local grocery store for $0.59 a pound. It was a bit sad that I could buy them at the grocery store for less than what we paid to go pick them. Mainly I wanted to give my girls the experience of picking apples.

Valerie wanted to pick apples again this year so we picked a half bushel (for $17).
I knew I wanted more apples than that but a coworker had let me know about another farm where I could buy seconds (perfectly good apples for applesauce, but not perfect apples) for $16 a bushel. I think I ended up with two bushels. I ended up with a half bushel each of Liberty, Empire, Gala and honey crisp, I believe. I also bought some at the grocery store for $0.54 a pound. Those were Macs, Jonagold and Jonamac and probably a few others as the girls were randomly picking out apples. I do like that all the apples I used last year and this year were all Michigan apples. Michigan sure has tasty apples.

This year I invested in an apple peeler. I always doubted how useful they would be, but I saw the error of my ways this year. My girls were able to help me peal and with me putting the apple on the pealed and taking the core off. Cordelia could peal 3 in the time it took me to do one. I stopped pealing apples with a knife. Even when the girls weren't helping, I used the apple peeler. All I had to do was break up the spiral sliced apple in the pot, which was easy.

I have apples to make one more batch of applesauce, but I don't think I'm going to can it. I canned probably 27 quarts of applesauce this year. That's quite a bit more than last year.  Last year I put it all in pints and half pints. That was a mistake. The girls could easily polish off most of a pint, so the half pints were a single snack and hardly that. This year I put quite a bit in quarts, but I also did some pints. I ended up with a couple half pints as well because I had more applesauce than clean jars on the last batch.

My recipe for applesauce:

As many peeled, cored, and sliced apples as will fit in my pot. It's big but not huge.
A half cup of sugar, mainly to keep the first ones in the pot from turning too brown while I was peeling the rest. I ended up with about 4 quarts of applesauce, so that isn't much added sugar per serving. Did it work? Who knows.
Cinnamon to taste. This is usually a fair amount. I add some then stir and taste. I like my applesauce cinnamony.

I cook it until it looks like quite lumpy applesauce. I use a potato masher to break up the pieces to be a bit more bite size. Some people will purée it, but I like my applesauce lumpy.

I put it in the clean jars, lid them and then process them in a water bath. I do 15 minutes in the water bath for all sizes as I'm hot packing and usually have a couple different sizes in the bath and figure that a bit of extra time won't hurt.

I also tried a batch of apple butter this year. I made it like my applesauce, but I puréed it, added cloves and nutmeg and simmered it for a long time.

The applesauce puréed to be made into apple butter.
The apple butter ready to be put in jars.
Here it is on toast. It was quite tasty, but I do not believe it will become a favorite of mine on toast though. The slice on the right has strawberry freezer jam on it. That is my favorite.

Our house was built in 1928. It has a pantry built under the stairs in the basement. I love putting stuff I've canned in that pantry. Right now it has a fair amount of applesauce, mulberry jam, blueberry jam, peach jam, apple butter, and maple syrup in it, along with some store bought stuff. This makes me a happy Michelle

The final product. Apple butter in the half pints. Applesauce in the pints and quart.

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