Thursday, August 19, 2010

All things apple

Do you have a supply of large kitchen appliances that take up half your kitchen space and seem to be used just a few times a year? Well, yesterday I put nearly all of them to work! I'm sure today and tomorrow they'll be getting used too.

Yesterday afternoon I spent a lot of time cooking! I had bought a large box of organic apples (I think around 30lbs) for $30 and they were needing to be used. Of course we weren't going to be eating 30lbs of apples in the next couple days, so I made an apple canning list. The thing I love about fruit is that you can make so many great things out of them. This year we decided to make juice (we have a juicer--one of those big appliances I mentioned), apple cider (my husband's idea, which I like), applesauce, apple butter (but that might not make the cut after all), canned apples (for baking cakes, pies, etc). I'll also have all the apple pulp from the juicer to use for baking muffins, breads and cakes frozen for future use. Well, all that meant I had to do some serious amount of cleaning, chopping, cooking, and canning to do.

A few days ago I juiced about 20 or so apples and that juice was in the fridge waiting to be finished or made into apple cider. So yesterday, I dealt with that by draining the chunks and putting it in freezer bags to pull out when we are running low on juice. It's basically the frozen concentrate idea because we'll have to dilute it with some water before using it too. I also juiced about another 20-30 apples, drained it and froze it to make into apple cider maybe today or tomorrow.

This was about the half way point in the box!

After cleaning up that mess and picking out all the "really ready to be used" apples that were still left I got to work on applesauce. How did we ever know how to do things before google? I had no idea how to make homemade applesauce or how to can it, so I did what most people do and googled it. Here is the recipe I found. Basically, you wash and slice your apples, put 1/2 inch of purified water or apple juice in the bottom of a stockpot and boil them until they become really soft.

This was probably about half the amount I used being washed.

Ready to boil/steam for a while. 

After they are cooked you pour your apples into a food processor until it's smooth or the consistency that you like.  Pour it back into the pan to keep it warm and add cinnamon to taste. I used one tablespoon and that was perfect for us. That's it, applesauce made. :) 

Then, we went through the canning process and now have 6 pints of applesauce for our pantry. 
That's a really nice final result from your hard work isn't it? And then there is this...
the mess you made waiting for you at the end! That's my least favorite part, but it'll be worth it to have so many great things on hand that are healthy, free from preservatives, extra sugars/salts, and unnecessary packaging. 

Not bad for a box of organic apples, right? So far we have apple pulp for baking at least several baked goods, several jugs of juice, a few jugs of apple cider (almost done), 6 pints of applesauce and another ?? pints of canned apples (still need to finish). The other cool part is that for nearly all of these things, other then some water and some seasonings, I haven't used any other ingredients! 


  1. I really want to give canning a try this fall. Something I've been meaning to do. Was it hard? Take all day?

  2. It depends on what you're making. The prep work takes the longest for nearly everything I've made b/c it requires SO much of your ingredients. You are essentially doing a LOT of cooking and then pouring it into sanitized jars while the food is hot and then boiling the jars for a designated amount of time. So if it's something that you can prep the day before, it may be easier with two little ones. The canning process itself is not hard. We do the water bath method, so you need a LARGE pot and a few canning tools (which I think I have coupons for--I'll try to send you some). There is some upfront cost on the supplies, but nearly all of it is reusable except for the sealed lids. One of these days I'll post the basic canning process on here so you get an idea of how it works. Otherwise, you can look up Ball canning on google and I'm sure they'll be a lot of info. Another tip: craigslist or garage sale for canning jars--a lot of people have them to get rid of for cheap!


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