Friday, October 9, 2009

From Apples to Applesauce

One of my favorite things about fall is APPLES! While our apple trees aren't producing yet, we have been blessed to have others share with us and so for several years I have made much of our own apple sauce. (Last year I was able to get a bunch of apples through Freecycle, you can read about it here. I didn't have any success with that idea this year but perhaps some of the rest of you might if you try.)
I love to put up food for the winter but being the busy homeschooling mom that I am, I also like to find the most efficient way to put things up. My mom came up with this easy way to make applesauce and so I thought I would share.
1. Wash the apples
2. Cut them into quarters.
3. Core them (and you can cut them smaller now if you have big apples) and throw them into a big cooking pot. Leave the peelings on. In organic apples the skins are actually quite good for you.
4. Add a little water to cover the bottom of the pan at about 1 inch deep.
5. Add sweetener if you wish (to taste) and we like to add cinnamon.
6. Cook them until soft on medium (or lower) heat. (You can also use the crockpot if you don't have very much. Very little water is needed then.)
7. Next I use my hand held blender and blend them all up into "sauce". This gadget works very slick for this. You could also use a regular blender but that would be much more work. Maybe a hand mixer would work but It wouldn't be as fine of a job.
At this point the applesauce is done. You can eat it right now (though if we are going to eat it fresh like that, I actually don't blend it as we enjoy it warm and chunky) or my Mom freezes all of hers but personally I like to can mine.
To can them I use the water bath method and I do it like this:
1. Wash the jars and rings you will be using.
2. boil some water to pour over the canning lids to sterilize them.
3. In a large pot that is big enough that you can have water 1 inch above your jars, fill with enough water that the water will go one inch above your jars (I always have to do a little guessing here) and put it on to boil. (Put a lid on to make it boil faster and conserve energy.)
4. Fill the jars with applesauce (I use a jar funnel to do this) up to 1/2 inch down from the top.
5. Carefully wash off the rim to make sure there is nothing on it. (Also jars with any chips in the rim will not seal.)
6. Lay the canning lid on top and then carefully put the ring over and tighten it down (make it tight with your hands but not super tight.)
7. When the water is boiling put the jars in the pot of water. I have a wire basket that they fit in to go down in the water, this works nicely or you can also use a jar holder to place them in but you do need to make sure that you have some sort of rack inside so that the jars aren't sitting directly on the bottom of the pan. If you don't have anything you can actually put something together yourself out of wood or metal. Be creative!
8. Bring the water back to a boil and then let it boil for 25 minutes.
9. Shut the burner off and carefully (without tipping if possibly) take the jars out of the water and set on a towel. If you have a basket like I do you can take them all out in that or you can take them out one by one with a jar tongs.
10. Leave them alone until cool and then test the middle of each lid to see if it is tight (sealed) or whether the middle still bumps up and down (unsealed). If they didn't seal you need to store them in the fridge and use them soon.
I find canning to be a very fun and useful hobby which helps my family eat healthfully and also helps us to keep our food budget frugal.
What things do you enjoy canning or would like to learn how to can? I would love to hear your stories!
For more frugal ideas visit Frugal Friday at Life as MOM.

5 comments:

All in a Day said...

That's a lot of work! I borrow an applesauce grinder. You just cut the apples in half, boil them for a while, and send them through. The good stuff comes out the holes, and the seeds etc. go out the other end! :)

LaVonne said...

Abbi, Thank You. I really want to try this. My mother has two trees that have lots of apples. I am going to try it out. I also heard some people make large batches of apple pie filling with the apples and can that for later use.

Jackie said...

Looks yummy! I love to can and have canned so much this year. For applesauce I leave the seeds and everything on. I cook the apples down and then run them through my KitchenAid juicer attachment which spits out the seeds and skin. Fast and easy. Your way is great, too.

Abbi said...

The grinders and juicers do sound fast! It actually doesn't take that long to do it my way either.

Lavonne, I have canned apple pie filling in the past but the last couple of years I have cut up the apples, mixed in the sugar, flour and spices and just thrown everything in the freezer in either a bag or container. It works very well that way as well.

Jessica said...

Thanks for the great tips! I'm putting this on my to-do list. I'm slowly transitioning my family to organic whole foods and this is perfect!!

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