Monday, July 13, 2009

What To Do With Baby Apples or Making Applesauce at Home

We have lived in our current home for four years this month. That is actually the longest we have ever lived in one place! When we first moved in, we planted a self-pollinating apple tree in our front yard. We have enjoyed the apple blossoms in the spring, but this is the first year the tree has produced real fruit.

But, we ran into a problem. The young tree produced far more fruit than its small branches could hold! We had to pull 100 baby apples off the tree so that it would support the ripening of the last fifty or so. I let the apples sit on my counter for over a week while I tried to decide how to make good use of our first "harvest."

Since the apples were crisp and sweet/tart like a Granny Smith, I decided to make applesauce. It was my very first try. And, surprisingly, it turned out quite delicious. Here's what I did;

First, I had to wash the 100 baby apples. No big deal here.

Then, I had to peel the 100 baby apples. Big deal here. This photo was taken at the point where I decided my knife needed sharpening if I was really going to make it through all 100. If we live here next summer and our apple tree blesses us with abundant fruit again, I will invest in an apple peeler. That is, of course, if the apples are big enough to fit into the mechanism.

Then, it got back to being easy again. I added 2 cups of water and steamed the apple pieces until they were soft. I did this while we were eating our Saturday Supper of Super-Veggie-Spaghetti, so I am figuring it took 35 to 40 minutes.

Instead of putting the soft apples through a food processor in batches, I decided to give my hand blender a try. It worked beautifully. So easy. So clean. I would use this handy appliance for applesauce again! I added 1/2 cup of honey to the blended, warm apples just to take some of the tartness away. The applesauce turned out the sweetness of store-bought "natural" applesauce, which was what I was aiming for.

I ended up with two quarts of applesauce - one for the fridge and one for the freezer. It's debatable whether it was worth the time in peeling the 100 baby apples. But then again, what else was I going to do with 100 baby apples. They taste much better as applesauce than they did as apples!

I am looking forward to the next batch of apples from the tree! And, I'm really hoping they will be terrific apples just for eating.
Thankful for apples,


Noel said...

One tree gave you that much!? Do you have any idea how old the tree is? I'd love to get some growing around here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips!

Martha said...

100 apples?!? Oh my, that's a whole lotta scrubbing. You're super mom! :D Thanks for the tips!!

Anonymous said...

Invest in a foley food mill. You can quarter the apples and cook them, peel...guts and all. Then when they are cooked, run them through the food mill and voila! seeds and skins are kept behind while you enjoy the rest. You can use it on other stuff, too.

I would never peel 100 apples, even with one of those auto peelers.


Anonymous said...

I second the food mill. I have a Victorio food strainer and it's great for applesauce. No peeling or coring involved--just wash and halve them, cook till soft, then run them through the mill. It's also great for tomato sauce.