Well, I did it. I swallowed my fear and plunged those glass jars in that boiling water. No explosions. No applesauce on the ceiling. Nothing but little happy sealed jars all lined up on my counter. Hooray! I feel like I’ve gone through some rite of passage. I can can!!
A few weeks ago, I saw a posting on the ‘Buy Local Food in Kitsap‘ website hailing the availability of fruit. All One Family Farm had apples and pears available, so I gratefully ordered up 30 pounds. We picked them up from Rob and his daughter this past weekend. Fruit is back on the menu! Be gone deep, dark winter! The apples are roll-your-eyes-back-in-your-head good, and I’m trying to wait patiently for the pear on my counter to ripen. I made applesauce from 11 pounds of the juicing apples and stored the rest (in paper wrappers and a cardboard box) in the garage. (“Not near the potatoes and onions!” said R.)
11 pounds juicing or sauce apples (I’m ashamed to say that I forgot to ask what kind they were.)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Prepare yourself. Do you have everything you need? Rack? Jar lifter? (Ok. I used tongs and it was touch and go. I’d recommend spending the extra couple of dollars and getting yourself a jar lifter. While you’re at it, spring for the funnel, too.) Wash your jars, lids, and rings. (I ran the jars through the dishwasher and kept them warm in there until it was time to fill.)
- Wash apples. Start slicing. You don’t need to peel the apples or even worry about the core too much. Cut the apples first in half, cut out the stem and the blossom end. Hack the rest into even chunks. Drop the chunks into a pot that is going to be big enough to hold them all.
- Add enough water to halfway cover the apples. Cover and bring to a low boil for about 30-45 minutes or until tender (when poked with a butterknife.)
- Run the cooked apples, in batches, through a food mill. (Maybe you’re lucky enough to have an old-fashioned mashing tool, which I now know is called a chinois.) I chose my largest disc; the holes were too small for seeds to fit through. My applesauce was pleasingly chunky.
- Return the sauce to the pot, mix in sugar and cinnamon to taste. Bring the sauce to a boil and prepare to fill jars!
- Process according to your jar directions or NCHFP’s directions. I processed my pint size jars in boiling water for 20 minutes. I made sure that my rings were on but not tightly screwed down on the lids.
- Spread out the jars on a cooling rack and try not to impatiently poke them. Wait about 12 hours before storing.
Many thanks to my friend, A., who is an experienced applesauce maker and who, over the phone, talked me down from panic midway through the process.