Saturday, September 4, 2010

Applesauce Making 101

Thanks Illinois Lori for your simple EASY instructions on making applesauce~which works beautifully!
You can read my post about picking apples if you'd like.
Gather your apples! You can either purchase, grow or have them gifted to you.  You want fresh beautiful apples if possible, but if this is not, depending on how much trimming you want to do, you can still use the ones with spots.  Ours had not been sprayed this spring, but that was OK. They were easily prepared with our device.

Purchase or borrow a peeler/corer.  This isn't ABSOLUTELY necessary, but it will make quick work of the process. We did enough for 6 and 1/2 quarts last night in one and half hours. This is REAL fast compared to the peel and chop method without the peeler/corer. What a great $10 investment. We purchased at Harbor Freight but there are other sources.  If you plan to do this big time~more than just for a pie or crisp, I'd invest in one.  Time is worth something too!

Scrub the apples with a vegetable brush. We've done this all summer with our garden produce and it makes everything nice and clean. Be sure to scrub really well on the ends where the stems are as dirt/grime can hide there.

Core/peel and chop out any bad places. You want your applesauce to be as good as your apples are sweet. We had a solution of cool water and lemon juice (Real Lemon into about a five gallon bucket.  1/2 cup per bucket of water.) When the apple is peeled and cored, drop it into this solution until you have enough for a pot to cook into sauce.

Cooking~use a five gallon pot and place 1/2 cup of Real Lemon and 3/4 cup of cool water into the pot along with all the apple it will hold. Turn the stove on medium heat until it boils. Turn down and stir as needed keeping the pot covered.  When your apples are soft they will begin to fall apart and made sauce. If you like it chunky like we do, then just stirring will be enough. If you want smooth applesauce then put into a processor, mill or blender to reduce the texture.

Preservation is achieved by several options. You can can them into Ball canning jars OR you can freeze them like we did.  I'm not going to discuss canning here, as I do it for some things, but not this. We have a deep freeze and use it for most things EXCEPT pickles!  ha!! Anyway, we use quart ZipLoc Freezer Bags to assure quality in our preservation.  Cheaper bags just don't do it for us. If you like another brand, go ahead. I know cost is important. We want our stuff to last and we KNOW it will in these bags! Be sure and let your sauce cool.  When it's cool (room temp) keeping it covered until it is, then bag into either pint or quart bags. We use a good amount in eating, so we do quarts.  I also always take out the excess air in the bags so that we don't get freezer burn by pushing the liquid up to the edge of the "zipper" and then quickly closing the bag. Have a rag to wipe the inside of the flaps once the bag is sealed and the outside. I use a ladle or big spoon to put my stuff in the bags and then clean them really well and label with product name and year. What's more frustrating than something frozen and UNKNOWN! But then again, what's MORE DELIGHTFUL than good homemade stuff in our freezer for some yummy eats! 

How are you preserving the harvest this year? Do you dry, can, or freeze?

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