So. Making applesauce. What does it have to do with photography? Well, nothing really. But here’s an inside look at our little family when we aren’t out shooting.
My father in law is an apple grower and he just finished harvest. With that comes lots and lots of apples for us to glean! I haven’t really taken advantage of the free apples over the years and thought that this year would be different. It sounded all fun and domestic, but in the end it was a lot of work. It took 3 times as long as I thought it was going to take (8 hours) but it was a good day hanging out with Ben and the kids. I thought I would share with you all who to make it. Making applesauce is pretty easy, just super time consuming. They say it’s a good place to start for those who want to learn how to can.
There tons of apples left over from picking. The normal person is very picky when choosing their apples at the grocery store. This means there is a lot of waste.
Here are some reasons an apple is rejected: The golden apple has bitter pit. The apple isn’t bitter at all, but there is a calcium deficiency causing those round brown marks. Second, the apple is sunburned. The skin doesn’t look too pretty. Third, limb rub. It is when apples grow too close to each other and the limbs rub on the apple causing the brown marks. The last apple is perfect in looks, but is too small. All of these apples totally taste supper yummy and their issues are only skin deep, but to the common consumer it’s enough skip over while at the store. So we get to eat them! Most people try and grab big apples but actually the smaller the apple the sweeter the taste which is better for applesauce.
You will need this corer/slicer/peeler thing! It is so much faster than peeling and cutting them yourself! You can get one on Amazon for as cheap as $20.
You will also need jars and new lids. It’s important not to use old lids. They have a tendency to not seal properly.
Get some music going because this will take more than a couple hours if you have more than just a few apples. In our case we had about 100-110 pounds of apples. Next, give the apples a quick rinse. If you glean them from an orchard they will have a natural wax to them (what you see in the store is fake). Rinse them anyway to get any dirt or bugs off.
Peel, core, and cut the apples up. Some people leave the peel on while they cook the apples, but then you have to sift them out later. We preferred to peel them first. If you are using a corer like ours for the first time a trick is to keep that apple moving. Spin it fast so the corer stays on track.
They look like this after coming out of the peeler. I cut them up into quarters from here.
Watch out for crazy-haired apple monsters!
Boil the apples until they are soft. The time really depends on how many apples in a pan and how thick you cut them. Just grab a fork and if the apple is really soft and easily pulls apart you are good to go.
While you wait for the apples, get another big pot and fill it so that when you get all the jars in there the water is 1 inch above the jars. The jars need to boil for 15 minutes to be sanitized. It is also important that the glass jars are the same temperature as the applesauce. It will prevent the jars from shattering while you are pouring the applesauce in.
Scoop up the apples in to a blender or a mixer. Blend them up to your liking. Ben prefers chunkier applesauce so we tried to not over-blend. (Side note: we have a Vitamix that we got from Ben’s grandparents. It has to be from the ’90s and it still totally works. We love it! It’s a great investment if you are a person who likes to cook).
Once you have blended the applesauce and the boiling hot jars are ready, pull them out with tongs and fill the jars. Put the lids on. (Sorry I didn’t get a picture of it).
Now you need to stick the filled jars into water again. Boil them for 15 minutes. This will ensure that there are no germs and that you will get a proper seal. (If it doesn’t seal right you could reach into your cupboard a couple months from now to find a jar of mold!)
We chose to cover the applesauce so it would cool down slowly. You can do this so it ensures a good seal. But it’s not necessary if your house isn’t freezing cold. I spent way too much time to not get a proper seal so I wanted to do this.
And there you have it. 39 quarts of applesauce. After they had cooled in the towels we took them out and separated them to help them cool down all the way. The red jars you see are flavored with red hots. A trick from Ben’s grandma. Supper yummy!
After doing the math we save about $65 canning it ourselves. Plus, of course, the peace of mind of controlling what is in a major staple in our house. Hopefully the kids will enjoy it and that 8 hours will be worth it in the end! Now onto canning grape juice!