We are so lucky to have inherited a large old apple tree with our house. It has been sorely neglected over the years, but it still produces quite a few apples every year. I’m not sure what kind they are; they’re small and green and turn partially red when they’re ripe. They’re pretty tart, but definitely not the tartest I’ve ever had.
Today my parents were visiting so during the kids’ nap my mom and I picked a bunch of apples and made applesauce.
Our method is: quarter and core the apples, pile them in a big stock pot, then cook down until mushy.
Run them through a hand-cranked food mill to remove the skins. I have an old Foley food mill that I bought quite some time ago. I had to wash the dust off it before we used it. I’m pretty sure it was less than $10 at a local hardware store. When it’s all processed, give it a taste. If you used really tart apples you might want to sweeten it just a bit. I added about 3/4 c. of brown sugar and a good heaping tsp. of cinnamon.
Check it: 8 pints and 1 quart of free food. We’re going to eat the quart this week, and the pints I put into our freezer. Applesauce freezes pretty well. It also is relatively easy to can so I’m going to try that too at some point this fall. I want to try a wide variety of preservation methods. Freezing is really handy because it’s really… easy. But we bought a pressure canner as our anniversary present to each other so we’re going to try that as well, most likely this coming week.
Tomorrow I’m going to do a post about different preservation methods and their ups and downs. If you read my fermented salsa post you’ll see that there’s a lot of confusion about what it means to “pickle” or “can” or “ferment” foods. I have tons of questions about them. It’s all a learning process I guess.
We’re also embarking on a “save the apple tree” mission because I think a couple more years of neglect and it will peter out for good. So we’re having 4 trees that surround it cut down this week (2 of which are dead and 2 of which are sickly). Then I want to try and prune the apple tree and address whatever bug seems to be eating a fair number of its leaves. Stay tuned.
UPDATE, 8/24: we had an arborist out at the house today to give us a bid on removing the dead/dying pine trees, and he informed us that our apple tree most likely has fire blight. For a pretty reasonable price, the company will prune out all the infected branches when they’re here cutting down the other trees in a few weeks. Yay!