One of our goals for the weekend—in addition to finding some friends with whom to eat our enormous watermelon—was to make applesauce. We have quite a stock of canned foods to enjoy this winter and when we realized how inexpensive apples are right now at the farmer's market, we knew this had to happen.
Bright and early Saturday morning we hit the market. We got our eggs from Blue Gate Farm first to make sure that we got there before they ran out (in my opinion, they have the best eggs in all of Iowa), then made our way to the apple vendors that we like. We bought 9 lbs of their baking apple (I was a little sleepy and have no memory of what the apple variety was!) at $1 a pound. And yesterday I set about making applesauce, which looked like this:
I like my applesauce very straightforward—just apples, skins left on, with a cinnamon and honey if needed. I simmered 8 lb of the apples, which I cored and chopped, with 2 cups of water in large pot until they started to break down. I had the lid on and only removed it to stir. When things started looking like applesauce after about 30 minutes, I turned off the heat and tasted it to make sure that there was enough cinnamon and to see about the sweetness. I decided to add 1/2 cup of honey to help balance the flavors.
While all of that was happening, I sterilized and prepped my pint jars. I filled 8 of them, with about 1/2 in an overflow jar that's in the fridge (and I am sure will be gone by the time you read this!). I processed them in a boiling water bath in our trusty and huge Ball canning pot for 15, then removed them and waited for the lovely sound of the lids popping.
The filled jars wound up being about $1 a piece, which I think is a pretty good margin for a relatively low amount of effort on my part. And if you are finding yourself scoffing at what I'm calling minimal effort, know that I rather enjoy leisurely chopping and stirring and compared to my limited experience with jam or pickles, this is a very good entry into canning.
Josh loves applesauce with peanut butter on pancakes. I like it for dessert or on top of oatmeal. Between the two of us, I am sure we're going to go through the jars rather quickly, which is why I'm thinking we'll do another batch before the fall is over.
I've never lived in a house with two shelves filled with home canned goods, or a freezer filled with summer vegetables and pesto, but it's already making me feel a little better about the approaching cooler weather. Because I am realizing that even though I will be freezing in a few months, I will have delicious pickled beets (or pickles, or strawberry rhubarb jam, or green beans) to enjoy, and somehow that makes me feel a little bit better.