Apple season is in full swing, it has been for about a month.
|DOT is an excellent apple picking helper.|
|the shiver that went with this face was priceless|
My tables are covered in baskets of produce, but we are interested in the ones of apples. The crock pots bubbling, bowls of discard and my making 9 quarts of apple sauce, at least, a day for the last week can attest, apple season has been good this year. And it is a beautiful thing, friends. My storage and canning room shelves are filling and filling. I officially ran out of space yesterday, though things have been getting stacked rather precariously for about a week now. It's wonderful. To know we have stores of food to eat, that aside from sugar, salt, lemon, and lids, cost us nothing. We have been very fortunate to have friends and neighbors randomly drop off or invite us to pick their surplus, to which I promptly reply, "what are you doing right now? Tomorrow? Would you mind if you came home and it was all gone?" with a smile. When my father call and asks, "How many ___ do you want?" I reply, "as many as you want to bring me." Because, to be honest, replying "All of them" is just too greedy for my tongue, but it is how I feel. Those surpluses I will discuss later, this post is about applesauce.
We have 5 apple trees on the property, and no, I have no idea what kinds they are except two are eating apples (they have feet), one is a cooking apple (its fruit are kind of width wise oval roundy shaped), one dropped its apples the first week of August when we were gone so aside from knowing they were red we know nothing else (and I am sick over the waste), and the 5th is a crab apple with three different varieties, two of which are fantastic sauce apples. So I have been saucing my little heart out. I figured out, easy applesauce is the best way to do it. I have been coring and peeling all my adult life to make applesauce, but no more. I recently had someone tell me THE way to make apple sauce, I was skeptical, but I am a believer now.
So you pick (up) your apples. We wait till they fall because, well, picking is tedious and I got started a bit late so many many usable ripe apples were already on the ground before I started. (The "bad" ones are being fed to the ducks, chickens and geese, I cant wait to see if it will impact the flavor of the meat when we take them to butcher at the end of the month. Plus, I think they might get a little drunk off the fermented ones, good for them.)
I keep thinking if we had started earlier we would have apple juice and cider and I could start apple cider vinegar and... oh well, next year. So, you pick, then you wash, and try not to lose your mind over the bounty that you have so stupidly squandered in the past. Hindsight and all that.
Anyway, easy applesauce, you wash the apples, and in my case since the apples I sauce are on average the size of a golf ball, I cut them in half, bigger apples, smaller chunks. The only reason I halve them is to check for bugs and badspots, and you would be surprised how quickly one gets over the sight of fruit worms crawling on their hands, since we don't spray our trees, nor does anyone else we get fruit from, it happens fairly frequently. The ick factor is still pretty high, but the freak out reaction evaporates.
So, halve them, or quarter for larger apples, and treat for browning. I just filled up one side of the sink and poured some lemon juice in it. I'm sure there is a proper proportion, but I haven't looked up.
Then from sink into big ass pot, or on occasion, two big ass pots, yes I have run two large batches at once, it was very labor intensive, for about 40 minutes, otherwise, it just made me wish our basement stove was hooked up so I could put more pots on at once... I may have a problem, I know.
This is the part the boys love watching, because, well, it's messy and cool and hey! warm apple sauce within spooning distance.
Bring to boil and pour it into hot sterile jars, lid em, process water bath 20 minutes, quarts or pints.
|the count is 56 quarts, 8 pints, and 30, 1/2 pints canned for the season|
And then when you feel you have enough. You sit back, enjoy the view of your full shelves, promise some to friends and family, specifically those who gave you jars, and then resolve to make LOTS and lots of apple butter. Of course, that comes after vowing to make up the amount to replace the jars you promise to others, but apple butter is a must with the rest of the apples that haven't fallen yet. Many different kinds and decadent flavors, because, we both know the apples are there, and you are going to sauce them, its just too fun and easy not too.
Apple season is far from over and I'm sure more sauce will be sauced this season, but I feel comfortable with our more than jar a week store. I still have the cooking apples to make pie filling out of ...and dumplings to bake, and to store the eating apples...apple season is a wonderful time of the year... Pear season is too, and don'tcha know, they happen at the same time. We aren't fortunate to have a pear tree yet, but we know the owners of three, and they are very very generous. We are quite fortunate in our family, friends, and neighbors as well a terribly lucky with our crops this year.
Happy Friday! I hope your harvest season, and end of summer, are treating you well!