Thursday, October 9, 2014

Making Applesauce

Fresh Picked Apples

Last month we picked two baskets of apples from one of our trees.  The first basket weighed 20 pounds.  The basket picked a week later weighed 24 pounds.  What to do with all those apples?  I decided to make applesauce with about 24 pounds of them. 

Homemade Applesauce

According to one of my canning books, 12 pounds of apples would make about 8 pints or 4 quarts of applesauce. I weighed out 12 pounds of apples and washed them.  Then I set to work on peeling them with my peeler, corer, slicer contraption.  I'm not sure how long this took, but it seemed like forever.  Although, I'm absolutely sure it was faster than doing all the work by hand. 

Apples, Peeler, & Jars to save peels & cores for making cider vinegar

If you don't have one of these peeler, corer, slicers, I recommend that you find one.  I purchased this one from The Pampered Chef about 12 or more years ago and it comes with 2 different slicing widths options.  It's simple to use; just push your apple onto the spikes at the end of the rod and turn the handle.  The apple is moved to the left where it is peeled, cored and sliced into a spiral.  From the there, you can cut in half to give you perfectly sliced apples for baking, canning or snacking.

Apple Peeler, Corer, Slicer in action

As you can see in the background of the photo above, I was saving the peels and cores to make cider vinegar.  You can read about that {here}

As you're peeling your apples, you'll need to set your cut pieces into a large pot (I needed my 12 quart pot for this) and treat them with citric acid (available where you purchase canning supplies) to prevent browning.  Once you have all of your apples in the pot, add about a cup of water and heat them until they begin to soften, stirring often to prevent sticking.

Apples cooking down a little to soften

After this, transfer a little at a time to a food mill (the amount will depend on how large your food mill is) and puree through into another pot (an 8 quart pot was perfect for this).  Keep working until you've turned all of your cooked apples into applesauce.

*Before you begin the food mill step, this is a good time to start heating your canner water & jars.  By the time you're finished with the puree, your jars will be heated.

Cooked apples in the food mill

Once you're finished with the puree, add 4 Tbsp of lemon juice to your applesauce.  If desired you can sweeten your applesauce with up to 3 cups of sugar.
Return your applesauce to the stove and bring just to a boil.  Then you're ready to begin filling jars.
Ladle hot applesauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Process in a waterbath canner, both pint & quart jars process for 20 minutes.  After these 20 minutes, turn off  burner, remove canner lid and let rest for 5 minutes before removing jars. Remove jars from canner and let cool for 24 hours.

You may experience leakage from your jars.  If this happens, leave your jars to cool undisturbed, as they will still most likely seal.  After cooling for 24 hours, remove bands, check seals and wash all sealed jars along with their bands.  Refrigerate any unsealed jars.

Completed applesauce ready for the jars

The first day I made a batch of unsweetened applesauce.  The next day I made cinnamon applesauce.  To make cinnamon applesauce, add 4 teaspoons of cinnamon to the applesauce during the step where you add the lemon juice (& sugar if you're using that).  You can also  use any combination of ground spices; cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc.

Unsweetened & Cinnamon Applesauce

I used about 12 pounds for each batch and was able to make 9 pints from each.

Unsweetened Applesauce

I ended up using all of those 44 pounds of apples that we first picked (I canned some in light syrup as well) and I picked about 45 pounds more last Sunday.  I think I know what I'll be working on next week!

Cinnamon Applesauce

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