After the apple harvesting (it’s been a record year for us, we’re grateful to have such an abundance of apples), it was time for the apple processing. We usually make it in our kitchen, but Jeff wanted to set up an applesauce station outside in the garden this year and that was such a good idea because the sticky mess was so much easier to clean up by spraying everything down with the garden hose afterwards. If only it were that easy in the kitchen!
We cut up the apples and steamed them in a steamer basket in a pot over the propane cooker, then put them through the squeezo to make the applesauce. (The squeezo is a manual crank tool that separates out the seeds, etc., Jeff has had it forever- it’s one of our favorite food processing tools. The boy loves to be the one to turn the crank, and sample every batch while he’s at it.) We’ve made applesauce different ways and that’s our favorite method.
I cleaned out our freezers and brought some bags of blackberries (and some other miscellaneous berries) from last year’s harvest out to thaw, and we mixed them in with the applesauce which is what gave it that beautiful color. We also juiced ginger and added that because applesauce with ginger is our absolute favorite. By the time we wrapped up the applesauce making (we made A LOT), we knew we’d need to do the canning the next day.
I’d like to say we had a wonderful, peaceful day canning our applesauce for the winter, but when we heated up the applesauce to can it, even on the lowest temperatures, it kept wanting to burn on the bottom. We took turns stirring the applesauce. It had to be turned constantly so we had to do it in shifts because our arms would tire. Jeff and I looked at the incredible amount of applesauce before us that needed to be canned and how slow the process was going and started feeling discouraged- not wanting to think about how many hours and hours it would take.
So I finally said to heck with it- and I started filling up jars to freeze applesauce (with ample head space.) By that point Jeff was totally on board because we had orders and so many others things that needed doing besides being in apple land for days and days. We ended up only canning 9 quarts, and freezing the rest- 22 quarts. We prefer canning, if the power goes out with winter storms we don’t have to worry, and filling up our freezer always makes us feel a bit nervous for that reason but sometimes the easier way is such a relief, isn’t it? If the power goes out for too long we can just invite our friends over for an applesauce eating party so no applesauce in our freezer goes to waste, right?
Jeff mentioned that more applesauce to get us through the winter would be nice, but as much as we enjoy eating it- we both looked at each other and neither one of us is too anxious to be making any more applesauce this year. There are still more apples yet to process… we’re thinking dried apples are sounding pretty nice just about now!