Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Apple Time!

Every fall we love to eat fresh NY apples and process them. We made make at least a bushel's worth of applesauce and we peel, slice, and core them for freezing. I pull them out to make pies, crisps, and fried apples all year long.

Apple sauce day is a favorite at our house. We work together as a family and enjoy the sweet smell of simmering apples all day. How do we do it?

First, I quarter the apples with a nice sharp knife.

We simmer them for about 5 minutes or less on the stove- we're really steaming them to soften them up.

We have to keep things moving, so I pile up the quartered apples waiting to be steamed in the large Tupperware "Thatsa Bowl". Everyone needs one of these. I use it all the time.

Then we put the steamed, quartered apples into the hopper of the food mill. We have a mill from Lehman's. You put the apples and use the red tool to push the apples into the hole leading to the auger.

You turn the crank and out the side comes the yummy applesauce and out the front are the peels, cores, seeds, and junk. If you are hardcore you run that mess through the mill a second time to get all the sauce. I'm not hardcore.

Close up- there is a screen the fits over the auger and as the apples are pressed tighter as the crank pushes the apples forward, the sauce goes through the screen. There are different sized screens for processing different foods. I'd love to get one for salsa and processing tomatoes in general.

Then we scoop it into containers. We freeze our applesauce because I haven't crossed the line into canning. Yet. Any of you want to donate long forgotten canning equipment. You let me know. I don't have the patience to yardsale for that stuff and I bet it's out there. New one's are pricey, but I would dabble if I could get some equipment.

We put them on our deck to cool and then we bring them inside to freeze. One bushel made us enough applesauce to have one a month for almost a year. I think another half bushel would have been great.
We usually go picking once and snack on those and begin to process some. I usually buy seconds from a fruit stand not far from here. You can get unsightly apples for $8 a bushel. They were closed when I went to get them. So, this year I bought another bushel of pre-picked apples where we pick. Those were too much. We ate them all and didn't process any- well maybe a few. Finally, I picked up 1.5 more bushels and so far we've eaten some, I processed 3 gallon bags for the freezer and made one healthy apple pie for Thanksgiving. The kids have one a day still and I will process the remaining 2/3s of a bushel or so for the freezer.

What kinds of apples do I prefer?
  • Ida Red- they are firm and make a nice pink color in apple sauce
  • MacIntosh- they are sweet and are a nice addition to sauce, but I don't like them in pies. Too mushy and watery.
  • Crispins- are lovely yellow green apples
  • Cortland- have a nice tart taste, but they pick early and they get like mush fast.
  • Empires- for snacking
  • Northern Spy
I mix them up and try different combinations ever year. I'd like to try out some apple butter this year, but I'm not sure it'll get done this year, but there's still time.


Sue said...

Oh the memories! I used to do this with my mom and sister. I can smell the homemade applesauce just by looking at the pictures.
Enjoy that delicious homemade taste :-)

Anonymous said...

Does Dan just endure a picture without making the "I'm mocking you and your-picture-taking ways face?" I hope not, because when he stops mocking you, I stop reading the blog.


Heather said...

ha! That is more the, "I'm so dashing watch me make apples look" oh and make sure the ladies in blogland see this cleverly handsome face.

It's close to the mocking look which you often do see on here.

Not to worry though Jana- Dan's rule is to never take my blog so seriously that it prevents him from making faces for you!

Heather said...

Wait...I took another look close up. You are right it is a plain mocking face.

The an eyebrow higher and a dashing smile he'd have been doing the I'm so cool when I make apples look.

This one is just one of those that generations down the line when they look at our photo albums will say, why's he always making that face?

Of course they will be able to trace it back to his childhood where he was also making faces at the camera.

And he's handed this down to at least one son.

If you could see E11's face in most of these pictures you would see the same expression though it usually manifests itself in more goofy forms in the adolescent.

School for Us said...

Oh... those look so yummy! My mom sometimes makes homemade applesauce, but she doesn't have one of those cool gadgets.:-) And, I love the look on your husband's face! I'm glad someone pointed it out, or I would have missed it!

Anonymous said...

No one will question the look Heather. Sarcasm transcends language, culture and time.

He must be so proud of E11. Every generation needs someone take the mantle.

I know of what I speak.