Monday, February 27, 2012

A is for Apples, Applesauce, Apples for Pie

For Monday randomness, I wanted to talk to you about canning. I recently discovered Doomsday Preppers on NatGeo. I don't normally like shows like that. Partially because I get freaked out at the thought of the end of the world and everyone running around fending for themselves. Also because, (Hoarders/Coupon Queens), it just glorifies the excess we have here in our country. Anyway, the particular group of shows I saw featured people who did canning. Canning is definitely a skill to have. Not just because you are being thrifty, but because you make the food and you know where your food is coming from. I may not have the land to grow food like I want, I do have the ability to purchase healthy, non-gmo produce. 

Prior to marrying and having a family, my biggest issue was what was I going to do with all of the extra food. There is NO WAY I could consume everything that comes with the cost savings of purchasing in bulk. Even having a family, I get a bit overwhelmed when I make large bulk purchases. I'm always looking for ways to share/split with friends or preserving foods. 

I had grand intentions of making a video of my canning process and capturing photos of the entire thing and quickly decided against it. No one has requested it of me and there are a bajillion others out there. If you are interested, I have some more fruit I could probably can, and would gladly capture the process if there was interest. Don helped me a bit, but I was really proud of myself for doing 95% of the work involved. Very, very exciting! If you want to try it, I will tell you, it is messy and sticky (with apples, anyway). You want to be sure to have your canning towels as well as a mop handy to clean up afterwards. I now know why there used to be rooms dedicated to canning.

With that said, I bought a case of apples. I had more than 100 apples to peel, core, and prepare. (Actually closer to 120.) The last time we went through this, I peeled and cored half of the apples by hand before begging my friend to use their apple peeler/corer gadget. If you plan on doing anything with apples, I HIGHLY recommend you get one of these guys! I can not stress enough how wonderful this little tool was. Another great canning tool is this book. So many wonderful, wonderful recipes in there!

Bianca's Applesauce (Mama loves sugar!)
9 apples peeled and cored. Boil for 20 minutes. Take off stove, let cool slightly. Puree in blender. Add apples to pot with a bit of the water from the boiling process. Add 1 cup of sugar. Stir and bring to a boil.

Mari's Favorite Applesauce (no added sugar)
9 apples peeled and cored. Boil for 20 minutes with a vanilla bean. If you don't have one, it isn't essential. Boiling in water is fine. Puree in blender. Add the apples to a pot with about 1/4 cup of water from the boiling process. Bring to a boil. Then can. *While I was canning, I sat Tesla in her high chair with 1/2 cup of this sauce after it had cooled. She gobbled it up and had another serving. She LOVED it!

Canned Apples for Baking
9 apples peeled and cored. Boil for 20 minutes with 2 vanilla beans. Add 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Bring to a boil. When the apples are mostly softened/cooked, bring away from heat. Scoop apples into wide mouth jars. Fill to the top. Pour syrup over the apples. Add vanilla bean if you are going for "pretty." I didn't add cinnamon to these apples because different pie recipes call for different amounts of cinnamon.

All of these recipes call for 9 apples because that's how many fit comfortably in my largest pot. ha! Obviously, if you had a larger pan, you can do more. I had to do many series of boiling/blending to get the amount for applesauce.

Estimated Summary

120 apples
40+ jars of varying sizes (wide mouth quart and pint, regular pint, 1/2 pint, and 4 oz)
4 vanilla beans
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups of sugar
4 tablespoons of fruit fresh
Gallons and gallons of water

1 large water canner
1 canning kit (magnetic wand, pair of canning tongs, funnel)
1 apple peeler
1 Ninja food prep
2 large stock pots
1 smaller pot
1 tiny pot
2 pot holders
2 trivets
4 kitchen towels
Timer
1 child carrier backpack --without this, Tesla would not have allowed me to work continuously. It provides great support and keeps a very curious child off the ground while working with hot materials. She loves being high up and able to see what I'm doing. (Thanks Sam for this awesome gift!)
1 mother-in-law on call to help you if you have any questions (hi Carol!)

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Good to know the apple peeler/corer/slicer works so well. We have yet to use ours. ;-) I may have to get some apples and take the dive into canning.

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