Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Make and Freeze...Applesauce

Apples

Our new house has four huge oak trees on the property. Two are registered more than 200 years old and the other two are probably as old as our 80-year-old house. These oaks produce a ton of acorns and the squirrels have been scurrying around trying to collect what they can before winter settles in.

As I watch the squirrels do their thing, it occurred to me that I'm a little like that too. I hoard seasonal foods when they are plentiful and store them in my freezers to eat all winter long. When strawberries are plentiful, I'm freezing bags and bags of them to use in smoothies. When tomatoes are abundant, I make and freeze tomato puree for use in soups and sauces, and I freeze pizza sauce and marinara sauce in containers just the right size to serve my family one meal. I freeze raspberries for pies, locally raised chickens for roasting and local organic beef in 40-pound installments. I've got two full upright freezers and two refrigerator freezers and they're nice and full this time of year.

I thought some of you might be interested in some basic freezing advice and so I'm starting a new series called "Make and Freeze". Here I will highlight recipes and techniques for freezing foods that are in season for use throughout the year. If you have anything to add, or if you do it a little differently, I'd love to hear about it in your comments! So grab a bunch of apples and let's make and freeze some applesauce!

Choose your apples...
To make smooth applesauce, choose an apple variety which is soft and sweet such as Macintosh (used here), Galas or Fuji, or use any combination of these or other varieties of apples. If you're looking for more information, Pickyourown.org lists many of the varieties of apples and what they are best used for.

Prepare the apples...
Wash the apples in a tub of water, quarter them and remove the core. Some may think it's not necessary to remove the core, but I like to remove it just to be sure there won't be any hard bits of core that end up in the sauce. If you have a food mill, you can leave the skins on which will save you a lot of time. If you do not have a food mill, you can peel the apples and use a food processor or even a potato masher after the apples have been cooked.

Making Applesauce

Cook the apples...
Place the apples in a large stock pot and add just enough water or apple cider to coat the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching. I added about 1/4 cup of water. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and cook over med-high heat. Stir once or twice in the beginning until the apples start to release their juices, then lower the heat to medium and keep the lid on until the apples are completely steamed through. This might take 15 to 20 minutes or so.

Making Applesauce

When the apples are cooked, the applesauce aroma will start to fill the kitchen and they should look like the photo below. Give the apples one more stir to feel for any apples which are not quite cooked. If you feel any uncooked apple chunks, cook for another 5 minutes or so with the lid on until all the apples are soft.

Making Applesauce

Mash the apples...
While still hot, spoon the apples into a food mill. I use the disc with medium holes since I like my applesauce not too chunky and not too smooth. If you have peeled your apples, you can let them cool a bit and use a food processor or simply mash them with a potato masher right in the pot.

Making Applesauce

Kids love to help turn the crank on the food mill so if you've got any kids around, put them to work! Here are the apples - skins and all - ready for milling.

Making Applesauce

After the apples go through the mill, they will look like this.

Making Applesauce

Sweeten and spice up your applesauce...
While the applesauce is still hot, you can add the cinnamon and sugar if you like. I like to add the sugar when the sauce is still warm so the sugar will dissolve completely. Add just a little at a time and taste it as you go until the applesauce is just as sweet as you like it.

Making Applesauce

Do the same for the cinnamon. I like plenty of cinnamon, but you could omit it or add it later if you prefer.

Making Applesauce

Contain and freeze your applesauce...
Place your applesauce in containers and let them cool to room temperature with the lids off until they come to room temperature or are just slightly warm, then cover and freeze. I love these Ziploc square quart-size containers. They stack nice and neat in the freezer and hold just the right amount to serve our family of 5 with dinner. A half bushel yielded about 10 quarts of applesauce and I filled about 3 stockpots full of uncooked apples.

Making Applesauce

Be sure to label the containers with the contents and the date. This applesauce is so much more flavorful than the applesauce from the supermarket! If you've got extra apples, make a little or a lot and freeze the extra.

Making Applesauce

Eat your applesauce...
I like to add just a sprinkling more cinnamon just for good measure!

Making Appplesauce

4 comments:

  1. This applesauce is delicious! Trust me...num num num...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fantastic idea. I never knew I could freeze the sauce!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nothing quite like homemade apple sauce, is there? Sometimes I forget it exists! Thanks for the reminder. I really love it on top of pancakes.

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  4. I made a big batch for Thanksgiving....funny, I haven't thought of freezing it!!! You have inspired me to freeze much more next season....I'm looking forward to learning more!

    ReplyDelete

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