It’s apple time, and this year Indiana and Michigan have had a bumper crop!
We were visiting family this past week, and on Thursday I picked up a few apples to take home.
Most of these will turn into applesauce. My family loves homemade applesauce so much, they’ll go without rather than eat store-bought.
When we lived in Indiana, I would make 70 quarts a year, and they all disappeared by the next summer.
Now, before you think I’ve worked my fingers to the bone peeling and coring apples, let me introduce you to my friend….
We'll call him Victor.... He's a Victorio Strainer, and he's a magician. He made an appearance here at the cafe about a year ago, (here), but it's time for an encore appearance.
Look at that picture again - you put your apples, tomatoes, or whatever in the top, turn the crank, and before you know it, out pops sauce! And the peels and cores go out the other chute :)
This guy is my workhorse. I learned about him from a friend who learned about him from the Amish.
What? You thought the Amish lived in the dark ages? Let me tell you a secret: Just because you live without electricity and automobiles doesn't mean you don't have the finest tools available!
Okay, so here’s the recipe:
Jan’s Homemade Applesauce
1/2 bushel apples
1/4 -1/2 cup lemon juice
Sugar to taste (optional - I only add it if the apples aren't sweet enough)
Before we go any further, let’s look at those apples. The kind of apple you use makes a huge difference in the taste and texture of your sauce. I like to use a combination of Golden Delicious, Jonathan and Macintosh.
The Golden Delicious apples give the sauce body – that nice, smooth, saucy texture – but the flavor is a bit mild for me.
The Macintosh apples give the sauce its flavor – slightly tangy, super apple-y. But if you use only Macintosh, the texture tends to be a bit watery.
But if you’re able to get all three of these varieties and put them together, you have my signature apple sauce!
Okay, here’s the process:
Wash the apples – at least three times. This gets off all the dust, bug footprints, etc. that your apples have picked up while they were hanging around on the trees.
Cut the apples in quarters and discard the stems. This is a great time to check for less than desirable parts, like worms that tried to sneak in for a free ride to your kitchen (and then out to the compost pile).
Put the apple quarters in a big pot (like a stock pot or your canner) with enough water to cover them and the ¼ cup lemon juice.
Cook the apples until they’re done.
How do you know they’re done? While cooking, the apples start to swell. When they begin to burst – you can tell by the cracks along the side – it’s time to make them into sauce.
|These have cooked a little too long....|
While the apples are cooking, I get Victor ready…
I forgot to mention that if you don’t have a Victorio strainer, you can use one of these. It’s the same principle, but you need to peel and core the apples first.
Victor doesn’t say much, but he munches those apples down!
Once you have your applesauce made, then it’s time for canning. You can applesauce with the water-bath method (apples are acidic enough to make it safe). I won’t go into the method, but you can read about it here.
|My 2009 batch of applesauce (in the Kansas kitchen).|
Or you can freeze your applesauce. All you need to do is put your applesauce in a freezer container or bag and stick them in the freezer.
I like to can mine so I can pull one out of the pantry at the last minute – no thawing needed J
So now you know what I'm going to be doing this week...we brought 5 bushels of apples home from Indiana.
By the way, the van smelled fabulous on the trip home!
Speaking of trips, it's time for a slide show:
|E&S Sales in Shipshewana was selling gourds, flowers and pumpkins out in front|
of the store. Aren't those mums beautiful?
|Do you remember my post on Haystack Suppers|
last month? Here. There's one coming up!
|A tug with a barge leaving the Port of Indiana.|
|Itty-bitty waves. The Lake was very calm that evening.|
|Dunes. The best sand in the world.|
|This is a small lake behind the dunes - a favorite for migrating waterfowl.|
|Along with several of these Great White Egrets, we also saw several Sandhill Cranes.|
No pictures of them, of course :(
And Thatcher missed us, of course. I think he thought we were gone forever! But after greeting us, getting into everything he could find, and eating a good lunch, he dropped. Poor guy!
|You're still here, right?|
And Wynter? She jumped into the van while we were unloading and wouldn't get out. She doesn't want us leaving without her again!
Happy applesauce making!