Monday, October 26, 2015

Homemade Applesauce

Homemade Applesauce

look at these beauties!
I've never been much of one to be too sentimental, I haven't been the mom that cries on the first day of kindergarten for her child (we have two more to go through so this could change!)
or gets weepy when she comes to the end of a motherhood-milestone. I will admit there are definitely days I wish I were this type of mom, but I have come to accept it's just not my nature. More often than not I find myself looking at the bigger picture rushing through each day with a mile-long to-do list instead of slowing down to soak in all the emotions of these smaller (yet not less important) moments that make up our life as a whole. Some of these "smaller" moments are HUGE like the first day of school, the first loose tooth, riding a bike without training wheels, or getting straight A's on a report card; but some of these other "smaller"moments can tend to be forgotten. The moments that become so routine we can often forget about their importance in our life ...the moments that truly make up who we are.

As the Mr. and I continue to get busier as the kiddos get older, I've come to realize how much of a sentiment I have on some of these "forgotten" moments of my own childhood. There are memories from when I  was little that didn't seem anything out of the ordinary but as I get older I find myself wanting to sharing all these with our children. And making applesauce has been one of the those!

some amazing peanut butter marshmallow dip made by a kind resident

My grandma and grandpa had a farm so the annual tasks of making applesauce, canning peaches, pears, and bing cherries, running to the barn for fresh milk or the chicken coop for fresh eggs, and then eventually butchering the chickens (sorry to those poor chickens ... but you may be happy not know, this probably will not be something I do myself) are just a few I grew up helping with. The chicken thing is definitely on my radar ... it's now just down to figuring out how to get the Mr. fully on board, how to make it happen, AND work for our dog whose really good at going after all of the many creatures that dare venture into our yard! The chicken topic will be another post for another day :).

As for the applesauce, Momma Bear does this every fall using Cortland apples from a local grocery that you can order them by the bushel (Cortland apples make a beautiful pink colored sauce) . The past few years the kids and I have been blessed to be apart of the process, and so now is gradually becoming a tradition the kiddos look forward to.

I had fully intended on doing a small batch of sauce myself about a month ago using some free apples the Mr. received from a co-worker, but of course since moms are the best my Momma Bear cooked up 'them apples' one of the afternoons she gets to spend at our place watching a few of her grands each week (which has been one of the many blessings of going back to work full-time ... GramE gets to come twice a week!). We returned the favor to GramE and spent a day, two weeks ago, helping her cook up 3 bushels worth of applesauce. I am a little annoyed with myself since it's been that long and I still haven't posted about it and in the past I would have just skipped sharing about it because the timing was no longer 'right', BUT grace is something I've been trying to show myself more of and my timing is something I'm learning to let go of also!

So, that brings us to making up our 3 bushels of GramE's pink applesauce. As a disclaimer, there are so many different tips and tricks to making applesauce, so if it is something your mom or grandmother used to do regularly, I would start with them and see what they have to say. We ended our day enjoying the company of some fun-loving and seasoned family friends and I enjoyed every part of listening to the insight and stories of how they used to make applesauce! Another disclaimer, the measurements used in this recipe are old fashion in the sense there really are no measurements, it's what looks and tastes good is what works.

the peeling station
de-stemming, de-seeding, and slicing
absolutely LOVE the old denim rugs used to catch the drips

Homemade Cortland Applesauce

9x13 glass dish(es)
3 or more large bowls 
apples (36lb is approximately 1 bushel) 
sugar (the amount needed depends on your apples) 
pairing knife(s)

Set up food strainer with 9x13 dish to catch the fresh applesauce. Fill a two large bowl with cool water and add a couple tablespoons of salt (a couple shakes straight from the salt carton  to be exact) to each bowl. Mix. The salt water will be used to keep the apples from turning brown. Peel one segment of skin from each apple. Peel enough apples to fill one bowl of salt water. Quarter each of the partially peeled apples. De-stem and de-seed quarters. Cut each quarter in half and place apple slices in second bowl of salt water (the larger the slices to longer the cooking time). Fill stockpot with apple slices. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan (about 1 cup). Cover and cook apples over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally (about every 5 minutes). Cook until tender. Add cooked apples to food strainer until full (one stockpot may be two strainer fulls). Crank and push until all the cooked apples are through. One stockpot will be more than one 9x13 dish so be sure to have a second one ready, I learned my lesson the hard way on this! Put the grounds back through the food strainer 2-3 more times to make sure all the good stuff is out of them. Transfer fresh applesauce to third large bowl. Add about 3/4 cup of sugar to each stockpot worth of applesauce. Mix until dissolved. Allow for the applesauce to cool (if overnight cover with an thin towel). Once cooled, bag or box the applesauce into your desired serving amounts. 1 bushel makes approximately 20 quart-sized containers. 

apples first going onto the stove ...
halfway cooked ...
almost done ...
ready to go through the food stainer

Some additional side notes. Depending on the season of apples, the type of apples, and how long the apples have set to 'sweeten-up' after being picked or purchased, you may need more or less sugar than we used. Also, the peels are the same, more or less peel depending on the apple you are using and your preference.

the setup, a bucket on the floor to dumb all the leftover grounds
more of the food strainer station
adding the sugar
Pappy helping bag it up :)

Cost Comparison: About $70 for apples ($22.99/bushel) and $2 for sugar which made approximately 70 - 25 oz. bags. Thsi comes out to be about $0.04/oz. for homemade applesauce vs. about $0.04/oz. for store bought applesauce. 
the final product, ready to go into the freezer!

Not much of a cost saving homemade item  BUT no unnecessary ingredients and 100x better tasting!!!

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