Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Homemade Applesauce.

As I was growing up my family spent many summers canning veggies, pickles, and sauces. At one point there was even a canning factory close to my childhood home but it's long since closed and I hate that I never got to go inside and really appreciate how it all worked.

Long story short though, my sister is a crop adjuster. She works many, many, many apples farms in the Virginia area...which means lots of free take home apples. She was kind enough to give me 10lbs of apples. Sweet right? But a lot of apples to eat up before they go bad. Nathan and I, both having grown up around the process and loving the fruits of our parents labor, decided to make applesauce and apple butter and can it, with the kids help of course.

Start with 31 apples, or 10lbs of a mixture of sweet apples. Here we have Red Delicious, Gala and Mutsu...I've never heard of Mutsu either but trust me....the are fantastic. (That is Jon Hamm on the screen of the laptop, ...everything is sweeter with Don Draper watching!)

Get the two youngest kidlets washing apples while your hunky man starts coring them. Can you see that halved green apple beside the white colander? That was a 1lb apple and it was so big Nathan couldn't force it through the corer! What an apple.

I placed the cores in a separate bowl and scattered them in the woods behind my house for the female deer that creeps up towards my porch every now and then. She should have a sweet treat too right? (Bad pictures, but isn't she pretty?)
I can't imagine how much longer this step would have taken if we didn't have this nifty apple corer. What a time and hand saver.

We had 3 enormous bowls of apples by the time everything was sliced.
Don't forget to turn on some music....ahhh I love it when Jack Johnson tells me we're 'Better Together".

Now is a good time to get your jars ready. You can wash them in super hot, soapy water or boil them in a big pot of water for 10 minutes to sterilize them. I went with the washing in hot soapy water. Then I set them out to air dry.  Don't forget to wash the rings and lids the same way!!!

Remember how I said the kids were going to help? Well Mackenzie ended up talking and keeping everyone company while we did all the work. It is what she does best.
Pour an inch of water or apple juice into whatever pot you're going to be cooking your apples in. Apple juice will make for a sweeter tasting result and if you get Light Apple Juice like I do you wont end up with as much sugar in the sauce and butter. Put the lid on the pot and let the apples cook until they are fork tender.

Dump them in a bowl and if you have a neat hand blender use that to blend up the apples.
You have complete control here, if you want smoother applesauce/butter keep blending until you're happy. If you don't mind it a little chunky then don't blend it as much.
Taste your applesauce before you can it and if you like it a little sweeter (really it's pretty sweet just as it is) you can add in some sugar or cinnamon or whatever you like in your applesauce. I cook with my applesauce so I didn't add anything in. Ladle your applesauce into jars and seal with the lid and ring until the top doesn't pop back when you press it. Of you can tap the middle of the lid with a spoon and listen for it to 'sing', which is a high pitch little ping sound.  Let them cool before storing.

I canned 6 pints/3 quarts of applesauce and saved the other 8 quarts of applesauce for the apple butter. I can taste all the wonderful things I'm going to put this wonderful sauce into already.
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