Saturday, September 13, 2008

Applesauce success!

Today I set about to make applesauce. I'd picked two big fabric bags of apples off the tree that is now basically done with apples a little over a week ago and I needed to use them up. I've got two mesh bags of the most perfect looking ones down in the basement. I've also got a big 'green bag' of good ones in the fridge for eating now. I figured that the rest of them would make good applesauce.

Basically, I followed directions that I found online. First I washed all the apples. I picked over them and set the ones with big bruises to one side. Then I began slicing them. I used one of those slicers that you center over the core and press down. I left the skin on, and it went quicker than I thought it would. I kept a box at my feet for the cores, and I threw all of the slices into a big pot that had about an inch of water in it. I cut off the biggest bruises prior to slicing those, and it kept me from having to throw out too many apples.

Once all the apples were sliced, I boiled them in the water (the ones on top were only steamed) until they started getting pretty soft.

Then I started ladeling them into the food mill. I debated using the screen designed for salsa so that I could get a chunky applesauce, but decided that since this was my first attempt, I'd keep it simple and not screw around with the directions too much. It was really easy. I just kept dumping in the slices, turning the crank, and periodically emptying my bowl into a big pot.

Eventually, I had all the apples sauced. I then moved the pot to the stove to keep the sauce hot for canning. I added cinnamon, nutmeg and a little succant to sweeten it a bit.

As all this was going on, all my jars were in the dishwasher finishing up the 'sani rinse' so that they were nice and clean and hot for the next step.

I pulled one jar at a time out, filled it with applesauce, put the lid on and set it on the waterbath canner rack. I repeated this until I had 7 quarts filled (the max my waterbath canner will hold). It worked out perfectly. If I fill my big stainless pot to the top with apple slices, I get exactly 7 quarts of applesauce! Once they were all filled, I submerged them, added some more boiling water to cover the tops by 1 -2 inces...and then boiled them for 20 minutes.

I set them out to cool and was concerned that they wouldn't all seal (I'd forgotten to wipe the rims of two jars). Turns out, they all sealed beautifully and they are now sitting quietly in my pantry. As soon as I have enough ripe pears (or enough ripe apples of a different type), I'm going to make more. I was impressed with how smoothly the whole process went. Start to finish, I'd guess that it was about 2 hours. I feel so domestic!


Anonymous said...

The applesauce sounds delicious! How long does it keep? Did you get a chest freezer and did you sell the Prius? Love, Mom

Cat said...

I'm not sure how long it keeps, but at least a year...until next year and we harvest more!

No one wants the Prius right now. Our gas is still (relatively) cheap around here (no supply issues in the PNW?), so I don't think hybrids are in particular demand right now. And we haven't bought the freezer yet. Hopefully soon!

Anonymous said...

When you bought your home how much of the fruit trees, bushes, etc. was on the property and home much did you plant yourself?
By the way, again I will repeat that the pictures of what you are growing are just outstanding! You must feel so proud of what you can harvest and the canning "thing" looked like it went really well.

Cat said...

Hi Debbie!

All the trees & berry brambles were already there. The grape vines were as well. We planted all the veggies (which are a bit behind schedule) and we also brought 2 fruit trees with us that will remain in containers (Meyer lemon and orange navel dwarf trees).

I feel such a sense of 'pride' (is that the right word?) when I look at the jars in our pantry. :-)

Laura said...

Pride is totally the right word. I want to look at your pantry, too! I definitely want to do some square foot gardening next year, so I hope you're up to teaching me. While I know I would hate the work and chores of a farm, I do envy all the great stuff you can pull out of your pantry, fridge and freezer with the words, "I made this!"

BTW, the blackberries are almost gone. We're having blackberry pancakes on Sat and then they really will be gone. They are/were delicious, thank you!