Apples a'Plenty! Canning Applesauce18. October 2016
My awesome in-laws bought a half bushel of apples for me this past weekend. Even though I was in the kitchen an entire day, I couldn't have been happier. I used to can a tremendous amount of applesauce using the apples from the tree in our backyard. Unfortunately our tree has been slowly dying. An arborist told me it had fire blight years ago. He pruned several sections away, but told me the tree wouldn't be rid of the disease. Fire blight spreads easily, especially during ideal weather. The tree still gets apples, just not as many as it used to since we lose limbs every year. Most of the apples get pecked to death by the birds. The rest get gobbled up by our dog Tuna Fish Joe. He's even jumped up to grab apples off the tree. What a sneaky pup!
I purchased this apple peeler that has saved my hands from much cramping over the years. This nifty crank gadget peels, cores, and slices apples in a jiffy. The apples from our tree weren't uniform, so I couldn't core them with this device. It just always seemed to miss the core! I also had to use a hand peeler to finish up missed spots. It peels orchard apples perfectly though since they are usually flawless.
I managed to put up a few dozen pints of applesauce. This should keep us for most of next year. We often use applesauce in baking recipes for healthier food.
When I make apple butter, I leave the peels on, then use an immersion blender to combine. There are so many nutrients that it seems silly to not use the skins! I've never made applesauce using the skins though.
I planned to make apple juice with the batch of cores and skins. Then I came across a recipe for 2-ingredient apple jelly that sounded interesting. I tried to make this apple jelly, but FAILED. I read that apples have so much pectin in the skin, that you could make jelly with just sugar (and no added pectin). I substituted honey for some of the sugar. I'm not sure if it was the honey or if I cooked it too long. I kept stirring and waiting for the apple jelly to get thick but eventually just gave up. I left the kitchen in defeat. When I returned an hour later, I discovered that the runny liquid had become hard like candy. So I guess I made apple candy. It did NOT taste very good. I then had to reheat to liquify it so I could get it out of my pot. This was my first time trying to make jelly, so I'll read up more on this next year.