Last week we set aside a day four our annual sauce making. The children love applesauce day, and love to help make the sauce. They are now all old enough to help cut, stir, crank, and fill the jars. All of their help really makes the process go fast, or at least compared to when I used to do it by myself when they were to little to help very much.
We started with six bushels of apples this year. I had decided that I need at least 100 jars to get through to the next season and we eat sauce almost every day. I do have about 35 quarts left from last year. Hopefully it will be enough. With the boys eating more I am not sure how we will do this year, only time will tell.
I bought 4 varieties of apples. Golden Delicious, Smokehouse, Empire, and McIntosh. We like the sweetness of this combination best. I don't have to add any sugar.
This is our set up. I found this table at the thrift shop last year. My plan is to refinish it, but we use it all the time I can't imagine taking it out of the kitchen to work on it. It's perfect for clamping the strainer to.I use a Victorio Strainer strainer and love it. I made sure to wash all the jars ahead of time so I wouldn't have to take any time away for that.
The first thing we do is wash the apples in the sink. To keep the flavors even we select 8 apples of each variety dup them in the water and then begin cutting them. I found that this is the perfect amount to fill my pots for cooking. All we do is remove the stems and cut into about 12 pieces.
I have a 22 quart stock pot and a 16 quart pot that I use. Just make sure your posts have a thick bottom to prevent burning. When a pot is full of apple pieces I add about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of water to the bottom and cook them down on medium heat. Since one burner has the canning pot I rotate the pots so one is cooking while one is getting strained and then we fill a bowl with cut apples until a pot is free. This keeps the process going smoothly and without breaks, unless we get ahead of the canner!
The strainer makes it so easy! Put the cooked apples in the hopper turn the crank and out comes the applesauce. Hot fresh applesauce has got to be one on the best foods on this earth!
After we have sent one pot full of apples through we then take the peels and sent them through two more times. By the time they are pressed that many times they look like paper.
I have a stainless steel bowl that holds 8 quarts. I know when it is full that it is time to start filling the jars. I keep my jars war in the oven at 170 degrees until I need them. Then I pull them out and fill at the end of the little table. After doing this for so many years I have found out the most efficient way to make sauce in this kitchen. From here they can go right into the canner.
Applesauce processes in a water bath for 20 minutes. I ran out of my Tattler lids and had to use the metal ones. I was quickly reminded why I love Tattler for applesauce. With the metal lids I have seepage that runs down the jars and makes them sticky. With the Tattler due to the tightening after they come out of the canner I don't have this problem and cleaning the jars for storage is so much easier! There you have it one really long day and 108 jars of sauce for the pantry.
I left them on the table for a few days before I washed and moved them all downstairs. They are so pretty all lined up in rows.