Monday, October 17, 2011

gettin' saucy

I spent 4 1/2 hours of this fine fall day with my mother-in-law and seester-in-law's making and canning applesauce.

60 jars later and we're almost experts. 

I'm sharing what I learned both because you might find it helpful and so that next year I can refer back and remember what exactly we did!

A {unofficial} Guide to Making Applesauce

Step 1: Go to a nearby responsible-looking apple orchard. Tell them you are making applesauce. Ask for apple recommendations (I was given McIntosh and Courtland). Request "seconds" - cheaper, possibly slightly odd looking apples from the back.

Step 2: Gather supplies, including large pots, canning jars/rings/lids, canning pot, canning tongs, knives, kitchen towels, food strainer/sauce maker/super cool applesauce maker, etc. It's always good if you can borrow, otherwise bite the bullet and buy everything. Forty years from now you will be glad you did.

Step 3: Slice the apples up. You don't need to peel them or core them, just chop them into slices, about 10 slices per apples (the smaller the pieces the less time it will take for them to cook/get mushy). Watch in awe as your SIL with the quick hands and the big knife makes quick work of this step.

Step 4: Throw them in a large stock pot with "a couple swirls" of water in the bottom [note the exact, precise measurements from my mother-in-law who is the experienced member of the group] ...just enough so your apples don't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.

Step 5: If it's 10am, Turn on Sesame Street for your toddler. Bonus points if you invited your SIL who loves your kids {almost} as much as you do. She will prove to be invaluable both for entertaining the little one and for running to Meijer when you run out of canning jars and need more.

Step 6: Once the apples are sufficiently cooked/mushed, start transferring them to the super cool applesauce maker. Mash them down with the red thing and crank the handle. This is where the magic happens.

Step 7: Hopefully you remembered to put a rectangular Tupperware container under your super cool applesauce maker where the applesauce comes out and a bowl on the other side where all the gunk comes out - the seeds, stem, peels, etc. Give the apple gunk to your super cool SIL with the organic garden so she can add them to her compost pile.

Step 8: Using a funnel, start filling your jar with the applesauce. Wipe the rims down and top with your canning lids and rings. Repeat until you have a canner load full.

Step 9: Fill the canning pot with jars. Once the water is boiling, set the timer for 20 minutes.

Step 10: Repeat steps as needed. Stop and enjoy some lunch {or some applesauce} during the lulls in the action.

Final Step: Enjoy the fruits of your labor! (You don't need to tell Mady that twice.)

Note: We got 23 quarts out of a bushel of apples. We were told we would get 16-ish and for whatever reason we ended up with way more.

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