Monday, September 28, 2009

Quick canning apple sauce

When I asked for ideas to help bring on labor, I was gratified with many responses. I did a little of my own research and asked my midwife and found that there are some "proven" methods, but they only work if the woman's body is already ready to labor and deliver. So much for the hot fudge sunday! Since my contractions have been strong and painful (on and off) for nearly 2 weeks, I figure anything should help, right? Or exhaust me like after the bumpy tractor ride, long walks, washing the car and canning 50 pounds of apples.

I blogged about my sweet new gizmo for making sauce here. Quite a few people have excitedly asked me about the sauce maker after I posted on Facebook that I canned 15 pounds of apples in 1 hour from start to finish. It's a true story and I did another few canner loads and took pictures so you can see for yourself that yes, it really is this easy. Find the sauce maker on Amazon here. There are several options on Amazon and cost anywhere from $42 and up. Different strainer attachments are available for other fruits and vegetables, but the one I purchased came with one for tomatoes and apples/pears. If you are new to canning, it really isn't hard. I would start out helping a friend or family member who already has the know-how and equipment to see if you like it before you invest in the other things you will need: canner, jars, lids, rings, and lots and lots of fresh produce.

I am surrounded by lots of organic fruit trees, ie no one has sprayed them for pests in the last 50 years. City folks pay a lot of money for organic, but in these parts every farm house has at least one fruit tree in the yard brimming with fruit that has never been sprayed for worms or other bugs. Most of the plentiful fruit in our yard goes over the fence to the cows. Organic fruit is usually smaller and can be annoying with parts that have to be cut out. I used 3 different kinds of apples for my sauce and I think it adds to the depth of flavor.

First, I batted my pudgy eyelashes (everything is pudgy on my body at this point) at my wonderful husband and he brought be 2 big buckets full of homegrown, organic apples. I roughly chopped the apples in about 6 pieces, peals, seeds, and a few leaves and all and filled all my available pots on the stove.

Adding just a bit of water to the bottom of the pot keeps the apples from burning until they soften enough on their own to release their juices. My biggest pots took about 30 minutes to get soft. I brought them up to a boil and stirred the pots every 5-10 minutes or so. The smell was intoxicating -- Glade has nothing on the smell of freshly cooked apples. I did 2 batches of 4 big stock pots and that made enough for 2 canner loads (8 quarts each), plus 2 quarts. I was inspired to do more, but then I collapsed on the couch, never to move again.

In 30 minutes the apples turn to mush... it isn't pretty, but that's okay because skipping the pealing and coring just saved me about 3 hours.

I batted my pudgy eyelashes again at my wonderful husband and he ran the sauce maker. I am quite certain all my alluring qualities vanished awhile ago, so his willingness to help must just mean he is wonderful. It could also have something to do with what I heard him muttering under his breath about his very pregnant and occasionally irritable wife, "Just keep her happy, just keep her happy...".

Men like new tools and my husband was impressed with this one. He commented that it needed a bigger hopper to hold more fruit and a motor on it instead of a hand crank, but thankfully he was done so quickly that Tim the Tool Man didn't have time to ramp the simple sauce maker up. I enjoyed canning with my man!

Out one end came piping hot organic apple sauce and the other end delivered the skins and seeds.

I simply spooned the hot sauce into the jars and processed in the boiling water canner for 20 minutes. The result was 18 quarts of apple sauce all completed while the girls took naps on Sunday afternoon. So fast! If this baby doesn't come soon, you may find me canning some more because I really do think it is fun. Then again, napping is fun too. And meeting my new son would be ever more fun. Until next time....



Anonymous said...

good job, Alysun. And Happy Birthday-

Grandma Sherri said...

No doubt he is wonderful! Looking forward to that fresh applesauce!

Anonymous said...

Wow, you two make a good fast team! I like the looks of your new tool. Good job and come baby come:) Jenni B

Grace said...

I'm excited to get started on my applesauce on Thursday! Praying for you as you wait for your little man!

Sara said...

Do you have a Vitamix? I know Judi and Jayne do. Have you ever tried any canning with it? Their website says, "The Vita-Mix machine makes applesauce including the nutritious peeling, in 60 seconds. Making applesauce with the peelings on saves dozens of hours, PLUS you more than double your Vitamin A and fiber intake." What do you think?

Linds and Manda said...

That looks familiar. I just learned how to do that last week. The pot I used to separate the skins from the sauce was borrowed from a friend and a bit different than that but the end result looks just as yummy. I need to get the info on that contraption you have. I think that might be my next purchase where canning is concerned. If preparing salsa was only that easy. Good job!