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Apple season is here! On farms across the Midwest to your neighborhood markets, apples are bursting on the scene, making their final appearance before winter. The orchard on our family farm near Oxford, Ohio is a colorful bouquet of deep ruby red honeycrisp apples, neon green Granny Smiths, Ginger Golds and beautiful multi-colored Paulia Red apples. It is a beautiful thought to know that my grandfather planted the orchard using tiny seeds of his favorite fruits. Today, years after he has left the earth, we are still reaping the “fruits” of his labor.

Mixed apples from the orchard

It only took me about 15 minutes to pick a basket of apples. This batch yielded about 5-7 baggies of applesauce.

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With the diverse apple, there are endless recipes to be made; warm cobblers and pies to cinnamony sauces, chunky chutneys, and more. Harvest season has always marked a special moment in my family’s life. A time when the Italian women come together in grandma’s kitchen with aprons, bushels of (insert fruit/vegetable name here), canning products and stories from the past – to spend a day picking, peeling, boiling, mashing, grinding, flavoring and canning home-grown flavors that would last through the winter.

My grandma’s applesauce recipe, which I call Sunset Acres Applesauce (my mother’s version is Sunflower Applesauce), is incredibly simple and it makes a great gift for friends, family and other loved ones.  *A special thank you to my mamma bear, Jayne, for making a huge batch of applesauce with me and passing on the family recipe.

What you’ll need:

  • Bushel of mixed orchard apples: If you are making enough sauce to harvest for the winter (or give to friends) buy a bushel of apples (preferably Red Delicious, honeycrisp, Fuji) – mix them up and get them from an orchard or real farmer’s market :). A bushel is about 40 lbs. of apples. According to http://www.pickyourown.org, you’ll get about 12 to 16 quarts of applesauce per bushel of apples.  Count on 12 or 13 quarts per bushel. More on apple measurements below.

-OR-

  • 2 lbs. of mixed orchard apples: for smaller portions, use about 2 lbs. of apples. Again, use Red Delicious, honeycrisp, Fuji small tart apples. Mix them up and get them from an orchard or real farmer’s market 🙂
  • 1 large pot (at least 8-quart size or larger) for boiling water
  • Large spoons and ladles (wooden preferred)
  • Sieve – they look like this:Image(Macy’s sells Martha Stewart sieves)
  • Plastic baggies for freezing (*Optional: Jars – *a longer more tedious method not covered in this post. For jarring methods, click herehttp://www.pickyourown.org/applesauce.htm)

Ingredients: (told you it was simple)

  • Apples (mixed orchard apples)
  • sugar
  • cinnamon
  • cloves

Step 1: Wash and slice apples into manageable chunks, keeping skins on (the skin will be separated in the sieve. Remove the core and seeds.

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Step 1: wash apples

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Image Slice apples, removing the core and seeds

 

Step 2: Boil water in large wide pot at a simmering boil. Turn the heat down and place apple slices in hot water for 20-25 minutes or until the apple skin appears to be separating from the apple flesh. The color of the apples will turn from a crisp/ripe apple to a brackish/brown color when ready – they should be soft and mushy if you stick them with a fork.

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Step 3: Add the boiled apples to sieve and churn, placing a ceramic dish beneath the sieve to catch the sauce.

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Sieve the boiled apples

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stir the handle of the sieve to separate the flesh from the skin with a bowl beneath to catch the sauce.

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Step 4: Flavor the apples. First, place the ceramic pan with the sauce over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, mix in your ingredients (metal adds bad taste when you mix with acidic apples).

  • add 1/2 cup of water at a time to the applesauce mixture until the sauce reaches a consistency you enjoy (less water for thicker sauce. More water for runnier sauce)
  • add a clove to taste (remove before bagging)
  • add 1/2 cup of sugar.  if you like your applesauce sweeter, add another 1/4 cup more at a time until it reaches a sweetness you enjoy
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon (more/less or none).

Step 5: Remove applesauce from heat and begin to ladel into the plastic freezer baggies.  I use about 5-7 scoops/ladels per baggie.  The applesauce only lasts a week once removed from a freezer, so use portion sizes according to your needs.

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Step 6: Toss the baggies into the freezer and when you are ready to enjoy them, simply defrost and eat within a week.

You can serve your applesauce warm with any meal or pour over ice cream as a topping.  Either way your family and friends will enjoy this homemade delicious treat. Salute!

More on apple measurements:
How Many Apples in a Pound and How Many Apples in a Bushel? 

(Source:http://www.pepinheights.com/apple-info/weights-measures.php)

1 pound equals:

  • 3 medium apples
  • 2 cups sliced

3 pounds equals:

  • 8-9 medium apples
  • one 9 inch pie

1 peck equals:

  • 10-12 pounds
  • 32 medium apples
  • 3-4~ 9 inch pies
  • 7-9 quarts frozen
  • 4 quarts canned

1 bushel equals:

  • 42-48 pounds
  • 126 medium apples
  • 15~ 9 inch pies
  • 30-36 pints frozen
  • 16-20 quarts canned

Types of Apples:

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By: Terrah Kocher

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