How kind your comments were yesterday. Thanks for all the sweetness. Yes indeed, this growing up business is something. In other news, my kitchen has been busier in the past week than even the last flurry of food preservation. It has been quite the summer for putting food by.
This weekend's foraging left me with bags upon bags of apples all around my kitchen. And, um, a full-sized cooler filled to the top. We had some apples to contend with. Because they were wild, many weren't going to keep. I picked through them and set aside a basket of perfect apples. The rest headed to the cooking post. Apple sauce, apple cider, dried apples, and apple butter are all good options for your imperfect apples. I know how we eat, so sauce was my first priority.
The process is ridiculously simple. If you still buy applesauce at the store you might stop after reading this. Note: I use a Victorio food mill that I picked up at a thrift store (similar to this mill) for $5 and I love it so. If you don't have a food mill of one kind or another, you'll want to stem, peel, and seed your apples. And I send you my apologies. (It will take longer but is still ridiculously easy.)
Quarter all the apples you have. Leave the seeds, skins, and all. We'll deal with them later. Cut out any bruises or creepy spots.
Transfer to your biggest cooking pot. Stainless is best, but use what you have. For every 8 C of apple chunks add 1 1/2 C water. Add a splash of lemon juice, 2 T for every 8 C. (I added chai spices to one batch – cloves, fresh ginger, cinnamon, and cardamon – and left one batch plain.)
Bring to a simmer, then lower heat and cover. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
When the apples are soft (20 – 40 minutes, depending on size of batch and type of apples), cool slightly, then transter to your food mill and process.
Pack into jars and can in hot water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars carefully, then gaze with satisfaction at your work.
A few notes…
1. Yes, I let my kids work with burning hot apple sauce. It's good for their character. I love that I don't even ask them to help but they hear the food mill and come runnin'! This is a great job for kids.
2. The apple sauces are various colors because some were made with crazy wild apples that literally turned brown 5 seconds after I cut them. Even with lemon juice. So I added some spices to that batch and called it Spiced.That made it seem like I did it on purpose.
3. Thank you for ignoring the bags of fruit and baskets of laundry the background.
4. And finally, yes you too can manifest a food mill for $5. I did so as follows: Sage was a baby. Amazingly, he fell asleep in the car. (This almost never happened. Literally, I can count the occasions on my fingers.) Pete and I were on the way to the thrift store. We wanted to capitalize on the nap, so we decided to take turns going in. While Pete shopped and Sage snoozed I thumbed through a Lehman's catalog that I had in the car. (What? You don't carry a Lehman's catalog in your car? I lived off grid. I got off on the hand-crank blenders. What can I say. Get a Lehman's catalog and put it in your car. You never know.) I saw this exact food mill in the catalog (for $75) and said "Ooh! I want one of those!" Then Pete came out of the store and I went in and found one for $5, did a little dance, and then we went home.