Saturday, November 14, 2009

All things apple

Over the past few weeks, 90% of my food preservation efforts have revolved around apples. I'm not complaining, mind you. I am very happy to have more apples than I know what to do with. We've canned sliced apples, dried apple rings, made apple cider and baked apple pie. Last night hubby helped me core and quarter another peck of apples in order to make apple jelly.

I cooked the apple quarters until they were soft, and then mashed and strained them through several layers of cheesecloth. Number three son helped smoosh the apple bits around in the strainer.

The juice was cooked, and then sugar was added.

The juice and sugar mixture was brought to a boil, then simmered for twenty minutes. I added a bit of cinnamon to give it an apple pie flavor, then poured the jelly into jars. Five minutes in a hot water bath, and I had eight half-pints of apple jelly.

I also made applesauce several days ago. Virtually the same process, only you don't use cheesecloth when you strain it. Just use a regular colander. Some recipes say to put the apple mush through a food mill. To me, that seems like a lot of extra work, especially since I really don't like using food mills. Just strain it through a large-holed colander, which will catch most of the bits of skin.

Cook the applesauce on the stove until you reach the consistency you desire. Add honey or sugar if you want a sweetened sauce.

One large stockpot full of apples made six quarts of sauce. These quarts will be added to the large supply of applesauce I made, and we haven't finished up yet, from last fall. We have applesauce with meals sometimes, but mostly I use the sauce in little tupperware cups for my kids' school lunches.

Even after all of these apple endeavors, I still have a couple of sacks of apples still in my root cellar. They have some blemishes, so my kids will look askance if I hand them one to eat fresh. I will have to be more creative, I think, in order to use them up. Maybe some apple chutney? Frozen apple cake? Apple cider vinegar?

Any suggestions from you folks out there? Just make sure it doesn't involve the use of a food mill ...


Trailshome said...

If you have a dehydrator, they're great dried. Just slice and lay on layers in the dryer. You can sprinkle on some sugar and cinnamon for variety and they're a terrific snack. When my kids were little, I made fruit leather a lot too-peel, puree or mash and spread thin in layers and dry. Roll up and eat. Kind of like healthy licorice. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can set pans in an oven with a pilot light on, just prop the door open slightly to let the moisture out.

Mama Pea said...

Will you just LOOK at that face? Could he be any cuter?

I love apple jelly . . . but have never made any. Hmmmm, must remedy that situation . . . maybe next year.

I got two big boxes (from a friend in SW Minnesota) of apples this year that made the best applesauce we've ever tasted. Gave one box to my daughter because I didn't think I'd be able to use that many apples. (Silly woman.) Hubby and I are whomping through that sauce like there's no tomorrow. It might not last until the New Year.

So I guess I'm suffering a little apple envy over your bounty. ;o)

Lucky Lizard Ranch said...

Apple bread? Apple salad? Half apples baked with cinnamon on top?
Feed the cores and skins to the cows!
I bet it smells heavenly in your kitchen! :)

Cat said...

Apple butter?

Anonymous said...

Baked apples! World's easiest side dish.


Jo said...

Hello Trailshome -- we do have a dehydrator, and we did dry some. They are yummy! I've not done fruit leather, but no one in my family likes the fruit roll-ups from the store, so I'm not sure if anyone would like the leather. Hate to go through all the work and have no one like it!

Hi Mama Pea! Yes, he is a cutie. And he loves 'helping'!

Hey Liz -- Thanks for the ideas. I do love chicken & apple salad. Do apple trees do well in TX? I'd love to feed the cores and skins to the cows, I just gotta get myself a cow first!

Hello Cat -- good to hear from you. I hadn't thought of apple butter. Part of me has always wondered if apple butter wasn't just applesauce that someone put on toast. Or am I just dense?

Hi Lorelei! Baked apples -- sounds tasty. Wonder if the monkeys would eat it. Now I gotta look for a recipe.

Anonymous said...

I have a great idea for all of the leftover apples - buy a horse! Horses love apples!!! What a great way to use them too!! Yeah, that would totally justify getting one of those big, gorgeous animals!!

Jo said...

A horse would be nice too! A lovely appaloosa, or a beautiful morgan...

Cat said...

Oh no, apple butter does start with applesauce or pretty similar, but then you add spices and cook it down more to thicken a bit. Plus it's a great way to preserve some more for winter.