Saturday Dan and I picked up some apples at our local orchard. I was itching to make a pie again, so we purchased a selection of cooking, dessert, and utility apples. The utility apples all had some damage from a bad hail storm that hit the area in late August, but were otherwise fine. We got half a bushel, and I spent a good part of the day on Sunday turning it into applesauce.
Being naturally lazy, I just wash and quarter the apples, remove the blossom scar, throw them into a big pot, adding a little cider, and cook them until they are soft. The skins impart a nice rosy shade, and probably add a few vitamins too.
I then use my trusty tomato press to sieve the apples, removing the peels, cores and seeds. Once through the press, the sauce is ready to process or freeze. I prefer a sauce on the tart side, so I never add sugar before canning — I can always sprinkle a bit of sugar or add some maple syrup or honey when I’m eating it. This batch, made with unknown varieties, proved plenty sweet anyway.
I like canning it in half-pint jars to take to work for lunch or a snack. In such small quantities it might make more sense to freeze it, but freezer space at Henbogle is at a premium just now, so I chose to can the whole pot. A half bushel of apples translated into 38 half-pints of sauce. At the end, I ran out of small lids so I have a few larger jars.
Homemade applesauce is inexpensive and delicious. It would make a great learn to can project. We’ll be enjoying this all winter. I’m going to include this post as part of Robin’s Thursday Kitchen Cupboard series on her blog, The Gardener of Eden. Check it out to see what other gardeners are putting up for the winter.