Applesauce Adventure

I love fall. I love apple season. I love apples. I know the harvest season is now over, but I discovered that one of our local orchards still has Gold Rush apples in storage so I picked up 20# for apple sauce. If I had to choose one tree to plant on our land when we buy a house, this would be the one. I love things that double task, and there’s nothing better than a plant that provides both shade and sustenance. These apples are the best tasting apples I’ve ever tried. They are very flavorful, sweet and tart. And properly stored they keep until June of the next season. I also picked up some Golden Delicious from the grocery to round out the apple sauce. I was looking for a sweet apple so I didn’t need to add much sugar, but if I were to do it again I would opt for a more flavorful apple like Jonathan.

The above picture is a great example of the franken-fruit developed by the commercial grower. I happen to know that these Golden Delicious were shipped to Ohio all the way from Washington state. And that is rare, because usually you have no idea where fruit in the grocery is from. Compared to the Gold Rush, the Golden Delicious are frankenishly huge, and unnaturally pristine. And wouldn’t you hate to be the person who’s job it was to put that little sticker on every single apple? The Gold Rush apples are smaller, and not nearly as pretty, but in all the chopping I did I really came to appreciate the natural beauty in the imperfect apples. And the difference in the flavor is amazing. Biting into a Gold Rush apple is like taking a swig of fresh apple cider. The Golden delicious were very bland, with a bitter skin and almost no flavor. So buy local and organic when you can, it really makes a difference.

So here are three batches of apples all going at the same time. I had my three largest pots on the stove, and I still had three batches after these were done. I need to keep my eye out at the thrift store for a larger stockpot. I’m really not one for recipes or measuring. I’m a “fly by the seat of my pants” kinda girl in the kitchen, but I can give a general run down of how I turned these beautiful apples into yummy applesauce. After all of the apples are cored and sliced, they went into the pan with some water in the bottom, a stick of cinnamon, a dash of salt, a squirt of lemon juice (really brightens the flavor of the apple sauce) and some Sucanat (natural cane sugar). The lid goes on and they simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the apples are good and mushy. A quick turn through the food mill, which you can see in the second picture (thanks Rachel for letting me borrow it) and you’ve got this:
A huge pot of applesauce keeping hot while waiting for the water bath to come to a boil. If instead of canning it you let it continue on the stove, you get apple butter.
This stuff is so good it really should be illegal.

Thirty pounds of apples and 14 hrs later and I can sit back and gaze admiringly at my apple sauce. I turned out 7.5 quarts of applesauce, and 3 pints of apple butter. I think I’m in apple heaven. This process wouldn’t have take nearly as long if I had a canner that could handle more then 4 pint jars at a time. One more thing to keep an eye out for a the thrift store.