I was going along so nicely. Canned 6 qts of apple sauce. Cleaned toilets and the toilet area in both bathrooms. Did third load of dishes for the day. Nth load of laundry. It was while I was poking around in the closets trying to find where I stashed the big suitcase that out of nowhere WHAM I hit a wall.
Now I am just very tired.
I have this list of things to pack and I really, desperately want to just, um, do them tomorrow.
So here is my tutorial on how to can your own apple sauce.
I used cortland apples. Cortland apples are on the tart end of the scale, and they have this incredibly white flesh that resists browning. The twins and I hit the fruit farm last weekend and they had half a bushel of cortlands for $6. So even though I hadn't any intention of canning more apple sauce--well at that price and with such nice apples . . . I had to.
So you start by washing the fruit and chopping it into quarters and taking out the stems. That's all you really have to do. You don't have to core or peel apples for apple sauce. It does mean an extra step later, but I've long ago decided that the mess and time involved in straining cooked apples is FAR less than the mess and time involved in coring and peeling a gazillion apples.
All but a dozen of the half bushel will fit in my pot. You dump all the pieces, seeds and all, in the pot and then just enough water to keep the apples from sticking to the bottom. Turn heat up to medium high. Get a BIG stick of some sort to assist you in turning the pile of apples.
They'll start to cook down.
And then cook down further.
And then start to look kind of saucy. Simmer now until everything is cooked through.
Then dump into a clean bowl. Usually I strain the apples back into the same pot and then can in a different pot, but today I wanted to can in the pot I'd been cooking in, so I strained into a new clean pot. This is a bad picture of a 12-qt bowl full of unstrained apple sauce.
I use the bottom of a clean plastic or glass cup to smoosh the stuff through the strainer.
When I was done straining, Thor got to lick the bowl.
With cortlands, as the apples cook the skin gives off a natural red dye and combined with the white flesh and its tendency to not brown, instead of getting brown apple sauce, you get this delightful pink. With the flash it looks like brains or something--there's a better color later.
And this is what my aunts would probably call "the poop." It's the fiberous stuff left over. That's a two-quart bowl and it's maybe half full.
At this point you add sugar to taste. You start with about a quarter cup of sugar per quart, although with the cortlands, I found I needed a lot more than that. If you use a sweet variety, you might not need any sugar at all. I tend to lean towards less sugar, but this batch needed more sugar and used three cups of sugar, or about a half cup of sugar per quart.
Bring the apple sauce back up to a boil and simmer and stir about five minutes. That probably does something to the sugar so it sets in the appropriately apple saucy way. I don't know--I just know that's how it's done.
Pour hot apple sauce into hot canning jars, adjust two-piece lids, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes.
When you're done you'll have incredibly tasty and surprisingly pretty-to-look-at cortland apple sauce.
I'm thinking of going back to the fruit farm when I'm back from California and getting a bushel and making everyone pink apple sauce for Christmas. Vitamin C, fiber, sweet tooth, pretty pink tint--it has all you could want in a Christmas present don't you think?