Or, in my case, when you realize that the large tree in the front yard that your late father-in-law had planted AGES ago produced apples, your husband steals a sheet, climbs ladder into the tree and shakes it violently until apples fall to the ground for you to peel, core, seed, and boil into sugary, cinnamony oblivion!
Not sure which one of us had the harder part here, but it was well worth it!
All these years we never realized this tree produced quality apples. It’s more towards the side of our house which almost borders our neighbors. Look at all the ones on the ground!
From time to time, we would see deer grazing there, thinking they were munching on the low-hanging blossoms, but really they were snacking on the apples. Hub got enough to fill the bowl above. Most of them were very small with some holes and rot in them, but I salvaged what I could. And they were not perfectly round either. Some of them were shaped like the Elephant Man’s head which made peeling quite challenging. After coring and seeding the first two by hand, I finally pulled out the apple corer. Because these apples were small, I was afraid that the center piece that cores them would take too much flesh, but it wasn’t that bad. I got that entire bowl peeled quite fast last Thursday evening and had only one lemon left to cut and juice into the container of cut apples so they wouldn’t turn brown. I had to move fast.
I went online to first look up instructions on how to ‘can’ applesauce, but realized that I would probably only get about 2-3 jars out of these apples, which we could just refrigerate. One was going to our neighbor who had walked over last Sunday to filch some apples with his two small children when he saw a pair of legs sticking out from tree that was being furiously shook! His wife is a stay-at-home mom and used to work for a baker and sends us these gorgeous home-made goodies from time to time. The very next day, he came over with a jar of apple jelly she made with the apples that night!
Friday at lunch, I went across the street to our supermarket (actually, there are two supermarkets and the 3 major drug store chains right on the main road where I work so I can be more productive with my lunch hour for errands) and purchased a dozen box of pint-sized Ball canning jars. I could use these either to ‘can’ or just to ‘jar’. (sorry for the murky photo)
So, instead of canning instructions, I just looked up a good applesauce recipe. I found this one from The Pioneer Woman which got some really good reviews. The ingredients were simple:
- 6 lbs of apples (in my case, I may have had less than 5)
- 1/2 cup of apple juice (not cocktail)
- 1/2 cup light brownsugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
In the pot everything went where it was brought to a boil then head reduced to simmer until the apples were soft (15-20 minutes)
Hub didn’t want it ‘baby-food smooth’ and I loathe chunky applesauce so we compromised. I pulsed the apples in the processor to where I had the desired smoothness I like, but with tiny little chunks here and there. I scooped out about a half cup, put it in a bowl and served it to him with a spoon. It got a thumbs up! From there it was into the thoroughly washed and dried jars
One’s headed to our neighbor to reciprocate for the apple jelly and the other is ours. But there are still 10 pint-sized jars left waiting for filling. The tree still has more apples, but I’m also considering other fruits when they go on sale like pears, peaches or cherries to make chutney or maybe take a stab at pickling. Winter’s headed our way and this would be a nice, yummy way to spend a cold, snowy afternoon in the kitchen.