After coming home with several bags of apples yesterday I set about doing one of my favorite fall activities, making and canning homemade applesauce.
One of the key things in making tasty applesauce is to use a variety of apples instead of just one. Also, it is best to use sweet apples instead of tart ones so that you don't need to add any sugar to your applesauce. From year to year the apples that I use vary based on what is reasonably priced and available. This year my applesauce is a combination of Jonathon, Yellow Delicious, Gala and Honeycrisp apples. Red Delicious, Fuji, McIntosh, Winesap and Pink Lady apples are also wonderful for making applesauce.
With my apples picked out I set about preparing them. After washing them in cold water, I cut them into eighths and tossed them into my large canning pot with an inch or two of water in the bottom. Because I use a strainer with my food grinder, there is no need to peel or core the apples. Super easy!
I put the pot on the stove with high heat, turning it down to medium-high once it started bubbling. I just love the smell of the apples cooking on the stove top. When the apples are nice and soft it's time to sieve the apples. If I am planning on canning my applesauce I put the canning jars on to boil at this time (more on canning is coming tomorrow).
As I mentioned before, my setup combines a food grinder with a strainer so I don't need to peel or core the apples. I use my KitchenAid mixer (a college graduation present from my grandparents) with the KitchenAid Food Grinder Attachment and the KitchenAid Fruit and Vegetable Strainer Attachment. I know that this is pricey, but I use these tools a lot and they are a big time saver for me so over the years I've decided it was worth investing in them. If the expense of the KitchenAid tools is not for you, fear not, you can still make tasty applesauce with a Foley Mill. They are pretty reasonably priced at anywhere between $20-$40 and you can build up some arm muscles with the hand cranking. I am lazy, however, so I will continue on with my powered method.
My setup is pretty simple. I attach my food grinder to the front of my KitchenAid mixer with the fruit and vegetable strainer added in front. I then position my mixer so that the front end of the strainer sticks out over my sink and then place a bowl under the strainer. I ladle the soft apples into the top of the food grinder tray and then use the stomper (yeah, I think it is strange that is what is called, too) to push the apples down into the grinder. The seeds and peels spit out the front of the strainer right into my sink where I can wash it down my garbage disposal. Meanwhile the tasty applesauce spills out underneath and is caught into my bowl.
Once all the apples have been sieved I just stir in some cinnamon to taste and I am ready to start canning. If you like you can also add some sugar, but if you chose sweet apples it probably isn't necessary. Stay tuned and tomorrow I will share how to can the applesauce using a boiling water canner.
Do you make applesauce at home? What apple varieties do you like?
If you are interested in canning, check out Homemade Applesauce Part 2: Canning