Thursday, August 26, 2010

Applesauce!... or The Perils of Procrastination.

Even the modern girl can Can.

So, I've been trying to find time to make applesauce again.  If you've never had good, homemade applesauce, you most likely won't find this exciting, but good applesauce is like fresh ground, fresh brewed coffee vs. Sanka (that weird freeze dried, de-caf coffee-ish stuff).  A whole different animal, and totally worth the trouble.

When we moved into our current house, the dwarf apple tree produces a BUMPER crop of apples, and about 1/2 way into the apples growth, my son and his friend (both about 3 1/2 and the time) pick about half of the apples.  They were still somewhat green but tasty, and I hated to see them all go to waste.  So I made applesauce for the first time.  Pretty easy, except for the straining.

Did that through a sieve.
What a pain.
Everything old is New Again... Why did we give this up?
 This is better than a bendy straw! 

This year, I have a food mill for the first time.

And so, when I finally went to the fruit stand to get a box of apples, I was relieved to see that Gravensteins were still there.  I was worried I had missed them.
I almost had.
Ugly Apples get a Bath
And since the end of the season was approaching, the "scratch and dent" boxes were out - for $5, I could get about 15lbs of ugly apples.

Looks don't matter for apples sauce (or chutney for that matter).  So I got three (3) boxes. (see also; 3x15 = 45 = ARE YOU NUTS!)
I made a small kiddy-pool's worth of apple sauce.  It is good.  Very, very good.  Especially the cinnamon spiced.  I made so much I had to break out the canning equipment.

If I had just gotten apples when they were first coming off the tree, I would have gotten 1 box, and that would have been the end of it.

 And I wouldn't have gotten into this fix.

 Ah well, we have apple sauce for a big chunk of the school year, and I don't have to think to hard about how to round out my son's lunch.
And it is so good, it deserves to be eaten with ice cream.

How does one do this?

I'll give you the starter size recipe.  Once you taste the results and get the hang of it, you can decide if you want to make the plunge (in my case literally) into large batch applesauce.  Because I love my new toy so much, I will give the food mill instructions.  NOTE: If you only have a sieve and a spatula, you MUST peel and core your apples.  And where I say, pour it into the food mill and turn the crank, you just need to use a spatula to press it though the sieve.


8 new summer apples (what ever size you have) (you can us.e ANY apple... but the best sauce comes from new crop apples, sweet, flavorful, fruity.)

about 1 C water
1/2 tsp salt

(for spiced applesauce - 2 Tbs cinnamon, 4 cloves, 4 allspice berries, & maybe more cinnamon)


1 BIG pot (about 8 quarts - a spaghetti pot)
chopping knife
cutting board
non-conductive spoon (wood or plastic, not metal)
food mill (or sieve... see note above)
zip-top bags or tupperware you are willing to freeze


Cut the apples into quarters (if you have  a food mill, throw in everything.  The extra pectin from the skins etc., will make for a richer sauce.  Just try it.  Trust me this once.) and throw everything into the big pot.
(For spiced applesauce, also add the whole cloves and allspice berries)
Pour in the 1 C water, and place over high heat for 10 minutes.

Turn down the heat to med low,  and stir the apple occasionally for about 20 more minutes or until the apple flesh turns mushy (feel free to squash the apple pieces with the back of the spoon).

Pour the apple mush into a food mill placed over a large bowl, and turn the crank to separate the yummy from the yucky.

Discard the yucky bits, and stir in the 2 Tbs of cinnamon.  Taste.  Adjust.
Add more cinnamon if you want (red hots are always a fun way of doing this, they give the sauce a fun pinky-red color).

If the sauce seems too thin, return it to the original pot (rinsed out) and cook at a high simmer/low boil to steam off excess water and thicken up the sauce.

As soon as it is delectable, ladle into zip-top bags or tupperware, and cool & freeze for future consumption.

Since this is high in sugar & acid, it will keep well frozen for at least a year.

If you a a canner, this is prime canning material.  Unlike jelly, this is not rocket science.  Just get it hot, and process it.

P.S. I highly recommend Snoqualmie Honey Cinnamon Ice Cream as a pairing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy to bring the ice cream, or trade for some applesauce - Anne-Marie