Our First Apple Harvest!
Many of the apples are good enough for eating fresh from the tree. Others, not so much: they're on the ground, partially rotted, or still on the tree after being sampled on by squirrels, worms and birds. As my mother taught me, nothing so good should go to waste, so I decided to make applesauce with the more unglamourous members of our apple crop. Applesauce is a versatile commodity: Dan can take it to work as a snack, I can use it in baking and cooking, and we can eat it with meals.
I thought I'd explain the process I used to make applesauce so that you can do the same with fall apples you find at the farmers market or in your own backyard.
- apples, obviously
- cinnamon stick (optional)
- lemon or lemon juice (optional)
- an empty sink
- a good-sized heavy pot (or two if you have lots of apples)
- a wooden spoon and a ladle
- a mesh strainer (or a food mill if you have one)
- a good-sized empty bowl (that can withstand heat)
- containers for your finished applesauce
Next, I put a lid on the apples, brought them to a boil, and then turned down the heat to let them simmer for about 45 minutes (the time will vary depending on your stove and what variety of apples you use). And let me tell you, the house smelled amazing: talk about aromatherapy.
When the apples became a sufficiently sloppy mess, I ladled them into a strainer over a ceramic bowl. I pressed the apple mush through the strainer by mashing and stirring it, a great workout for my out-of-shape arms. The process is much easier if you have a food mill, but I found the strainer surprisingly effective. You'd be amazed at how much sauce you can squeeze out of those apples. I kept stirring until I had less than a handful of goo left in the strainer.
Depending on the apple variety - or combination of varieties - you use to make applesauce, you might want to add sugar before serving it. My backyard apples - whatever they are - are sweet enough to stand on their own.
I grew up making applesauce with my family. My parents would get all of us kids around the table to help with all the steps. I never imagined I'd be doing the same thing so many years later. There's something very beautiful about seeing the entire process, from bud to blossom to fruit and all that fruit can provide.