Apples make me feel nostalgic. I have one of those warm and fuzzy early childhood memories of flannel shirts, seeing my breath in the morning, and feeling the warm sunshine on the side of my face through the car window as my dad and I took a drive upstate in search of apple orchards. I have no idea where we went, but I remember feeling rebellious eating apples off the tree without washing them.
I went to college upstate New York. I was surrounded by apple orchards. I became the apple pie queen of my dorm. There was a huge kitchen in the basement of the dorm with 3ovens. Our guy friends would sneak into the orchards at night with empty pillow cases, filling them with apples, that is until one of them got shot in the butt with buckshot! Yes, they were stealing, but we justified it because we were poor college students and heck...it was the 70's! My roomie and I rolled out pie crusts by the dozen. Occasionally, I'd throw in a dutch crumb.
When my kids were young, we created more apple memories. Our family took annual apple picking trips with friends from my son's cub scout pack that continued even after the boys lost interest in scouting. The kids ran wild in the orchards, picked way too many apples, took hayrides, drank cider, and ate apple donuts. The day always ended with a picnic and a cut throat game of soccer. Yes, apples make me feel nostalgic.
I thought I would kick off the season by putting up some jars of applesauce. If you have not done any canning you can refer to one of my earlier posts for the specifics.
Simple Apple SauceYields 12 pints
15 pounds of Apples; use what you like. I used 10 pounds of Macintosh and 5 pounds of Gala. The Galas were sweet so I did not need any sugar.
3 2 inch pieces of lemon peel
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- Wash Apples.
- Cut up apples I cut them in half, then cut each half into quarters. I do not peel or core them.
- Fill the biggest pot you have with 1 inch of water. Place apples and lemon peel in the pot and cover.
- Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a lively simmer and cook until apples start looking mushy and skins are falling off.
- Using a food mill, puree apples. I use a fairly small disc, hence, I do not core or peel the apples. Some of the softer peel is pureed, giving the sauce a slight blush. If you only have a course disc, you will want to core and peel the apples before cooking them.
- Return pureed applesauce to pot. Add cinnamon. If the sauce is runny, continue cooking on a low heat, stirring often until it reaches desired thickness. I did not have to cook mine at all.
- Ladle hot applesauce into hot sterilized jars.
- Run a knife around jar to break any air bubbles.
- Wipe edge of jars clean
- Place lids on jars
- Screw on rings
- Return filled jars to bath, bring back to a boil and process for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from bath and allow to cool... listen for the ping of the lids sealing.
- Once cooled, store in a cool dry place. You'll have enough apple sauce until next season.