Friday, May 3, 2013

Making Applesauce

I usually make applesauce in the fall, when the apples are plentiful and cheap. I get quite a few bushels of apples and can up enough for the entire year.

With that in mind, I went looking for some applesauce the other day to eat with dinner. I searched and searched and searched but could not find any. I finally realized I am going to have to break down and purchase some apples at the grocery store and make some more. My problem with apples from the grocery store is they are expensive! I am still looking for that missing box of applesauce jars but in the meantime, I will have to make more.

Making applesauce is easy and it doesn't have to take very long either. Coring and peeling the apples is super fast and easy with my Victorio Apple Peeler! Here is a picture of mine. 

This tool has been around for over 100 years so I am sure your great-grandmother used one as well! Start by pulling the handle all the way to the rear. Then place the apple on the prongs.

Turn the handle and watch!

I timed how long it took to core, peel and slice an apple, 15 seconds! There is no way you can do it by hand that fast! I had the five pound bag finished in less than 10 minutes. 

Once the apples were peeled, cored, and sliced, they need to be treated to prevent browning. I use ascorbic acid. Lemon juice and vitamin C powder work too. I put a heaping 1/2 tablespoon in a large bowl and added room temperature water. It isn't necessary to have the apples soak in this, just dipping them works.

At this point, there are a couple of ways to cook the apples. You can put them in a large sauce pot and bring them to boil. Then, turn down the heat and cook for 20 minutes. You could also put them in a crock pot overnight and let them cook slowly. I wanted to cook mine in the Sun Oven, however for the last two days we haven't seen the sun! So, I opted for slow cooking in the crock pot overnight. 

When cooking the apples, all the recipes I have say to add a little water to the bottom of the pot so they don't stick. I don't like to add water, so I used apple juice instead. I used apple juice I canned myself last fall.

Although it isn't really necessary, at the four hour mark, I stirred the apples and then used a potato masher to mash them up a bit.

You could wait until they are completely cooked and then puree them into sauce. We like chunky sauce so all I do is mash them - I don't bother to puree. This is also the time that I add the sugar and spices. I use the following spice mix. It is set for 10 pounds of apples. Since I only had five pounds of apples I cut the amount shown here in half:

  • 2 cups of sugar (You can use less if you want.)
  • 2 tsps of cinnamon (Cinnamon doesn't like me, so I usually use apple pie spice instead. This contains a bit of cinnamon so you still get the flavor but it doesn't overwhelm.)
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg

 Here is a picture of mine the next morning.

It's done! I didn't bother to can this because I really didn't make enough to justify all the work involved in canning. I separated it into portion size containers and put it in the freezer. 

This fall, I am definitely going to can many more jars of applesauce so I don't run out again! Believe me, once you taste homemade applesauce, you won't ever buy it from the store again!

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