Saturday, September 25, 2010

How do ya like THEM apples?

Earlier this month my dear husband ran and completed his first half marathon up in Dubuque... he did a great job btw!.   On the drive home we stopped off at a "mom and pop" apple stand.  This place was so very cute.  They had pumpkins, gourds, apples all displayed in cute ways... wish I had gotten a picture of it.  We were slightly disappointed that they couldn't let us pick our own apples... something about not being insured for it... oy.  So we got a few bags of apples to take home and make applesauce with.

So this is what I do when I make applesauce.  Now, I'm taking a risk here by showing just how easy it really is to make your own applesauce.  I can feel my Martha status slowly slipping... ;)

    First thing I do is fill my HUGE canning pot 2/3 full of water and set in on the stove to boil.  Keeping the lid on will keep the heat and vapor in so I don't boil away the water. Plus, it seems to help the water reach a boil quicker.  Next I put all my canning jars into the dishwasher and send it through a cycle.  This not only sanitizes the jars after they have been sitting in my pantry for three seasons... it also keeps them nice and hot until I need to fill them with hot applesauce.  
Quart sized mason jars sterilized
and heated in the dishwasher.

My canning pot... got it at a garage sale back in California
for next to nothing and never used it until I moved to Iowa!

Let me just say this is the greatest canning invention. EVER.
 $50 well spent.  You'll see later just what it does.  

I set up my food strainer on the dining room table.  I have to do that in there because the countertop in my kitchen doesn't have a wide enough overhang for the contraption to grip onto.  I use some rubbery drawer lining and kitchen towels to keep from marring my dining table.  It works really well.  Now that I'm all set up... it's time for some apples.

Apples get washed in my new sink!
Although, I think organic is a great choice, these apples are just your run of the mill, pesticide infected apples... so make sure you wash all that waxy buildup off!  

Why yes, yes that is my new granite composite, espresso colored sink... thanks for noticing :)  Updates on THAT project are coming soon... but back to them apples.

All I did was quarter the apples and throw them into a pot... I really need to invest in a stock pot or something bigger than the one I have now.  Anyway, no need to core or peel.  Seriously.
 You'll see....

Death of an apple.

 I like to put in something to compliment the flavor of the apples.  Usually it is cinnamon sticks.  This time I just bundled them and tied them with a twisty tie.  Sometimes I make a pouch with cheesecloth and put in some cloves along with the cinnamon sticks.  This goes into the pot with the apples and I put in a few cups of water to help steam the apples.

 I cover and cook the apples at medium high until they start to get soft and mushy... about 10 minutes.  Let me tell you, this makes your house smell WONDERFUL.  It's about now that the kids will make their way into the kitchen to see what I'm doing.

SO after the apples are softened, I put a colander over a bowl in the sink.  I do this because I want to reuse the steaming water with the next batch. ... I'll explain later why.

 Drain the apples.
Aerial view.

The apples then get put into the large funnel on the strainer.  The red plunger helps push the apples down into the moving parts of the strainer.  Eric loves to help with this part.

Here is where the magic happens.  As the handle is turned and the apples are plunged down into the strainer, the meat of the apple gets strained into one bowl (pink) while the peel, seeds, core, and stem all get pushed out into the yellow bowl.  This contraption saves me sooo much time.

Wide mouthed funnel and jar tongs.

While another pot of apples is steaming, I take the first batch and begin to ladle it into quart jars.  Once those are filled (leaving about 1/4 inch head space), I wipe the lip of the jar clean to ensure a good seal,  drain the second batch of apples like the first, then put another pot of apples on the stove to steam.  When I have six or seven filled jars, I  put lids and rings around them and put them into the canning pot for 15 minutes.  There needs to be about 2 inches of water covering the jars.  If I don't have enough I boil some quickly in my tea kettle and fill the pot.

After the fifteen minutes is up, I pull up the jars and use the tongs to take them out of the water.  I put a double thickness of towels on the counter and just let the jars sit there until I hear them POP.  That's when I know they've sealed.  You can re-process the jars if they don't pop... but mine always do!

So I'd say the hardest thing about making applesauce is the clean up!  Now I have applesauce in my pantry to enjoy all winter.

  Oh! The reason I saved the water from the applesauce bath is because I will strain it and use it as apple juice to make apple jelly another day.  I just seal it up in a container and put it into the fridge.  :)

1 comment:

Talk to me: