A-peel-ing Apples

08 Oct

Kimmy and her kids picked a peck of perfect apples …

apple basket 10.8.13

and turned them into applesauce.  Ok, that’s not exactly how the rhyme goes (and it’s not really true because my husband helped with picking too), BUT we did pick all these apples last weekend (actually about double what I’ve shown you) and we turned some of them into giant jars of applesauce and a giant jar of apple butter.

applesauce in pot

Here are some of the peels.  I kept filling the compost bucket, but forgot to take a picture of that.  Trust me.  It was filled to the brim and then some.  This is much prettier.

apple peels

If you’ve never tasted homemade applesauce, you need to get a big old bunch of apples and make a batch right now.  You might freeze your applesauce or can it or simply put it in the fridge to eat.  But whatever you do, just try a batch.  It’s that good.

A few things to ponder:

  • Use a mix of apples otherwise your applesauce will taste storebought: read boring.
  • Use sweet apples!  This is not the place for Granny Smiths no matter how much you love them.
  • Sweet apples don’t need any more sweetener.  They cook down into a sweet, yummy mush.  If you insisted on using Grannies you need to add sugar, or honey or maple syrup.
  • Experiment with spices!  I used cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods, but you could add a vanilla bean or make a little cheesecloth bag of your favorite spices; maybe allspice, cloves, or even fennel seed.  Think of what you like and think outside the applesauce box.
  • Adding water?  Most recipes call for some liquid.  I prefer to use apple cider.  It’s kind of an extra-apple-flavor-no-brainer.  It should be pure apple cider though, not apple flavored water.
  • Smooth or chunky?  It’s up to you!  You can run your apples through a food mill (which I don’t have so I don’t use and I hate smooth anyway) or you can puree with an immersion blender (which is one of my favorite appliances and it works well here unless you hate smooth sauce in which case, don’t) or you can just sort of smash the big chunks into manageable yummy chunks.  It’s applesauce, not rocket science.
  • Peel or no peel?  As evidenced by my photo above and my lack of a food mill, I opt to get rid of the peel.  If you leave it on, it turns the applesauce a lovely shade of pink, but you also have to simply quarter the apples and then pull the peel out by hand or grind it and get bits of peel in your teeth.  Do whatever you find a-peel-ing.
  • Final thought: if you are water bath canning, pretty much ignore the advice to think outside the box and don’t deviate from the recipe.  You need acidity or you get botulism in a jar.  And then you die.  And you blame me.  The end.  I’m not kidding.  I’ve canned lots of things, but if I am water bath canning, I follow the recipe and guess what?  I’m still here.  Of you follow the recipe you will be too.  Now go make applesauce!  And don’t forget to compost those peels.

Apple butter?  Another tasty story for another day.


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