This past weekend a group of women joined me for an old fashioned canning get together. Our family picked apples following a hockey game in the Catskills, and canning seemed like a great way to extend out the enjoyment of the local fruit!
Although we women were together for canning, it was the social part of the event that flavored the gathering. Conversation flowed, someone sliced apples, someone else pureed through the food mill, and the applesauce emerged! Women came and left, a daughter dropped in with a new hairstyle. One woman listened and gave a big hug to another woman who is going through a difficult time.
Our applesauce has been flavored by all of these women, the love and support that they gave to me, my creative hands, and to one another. This food is sure to enrich the body and spirit!
I have a good amount of applesauce, larger jars for our family, and smaller jars for gifts (oops, hope I didn’t give anything away!). This was my first go at canning, and I was a little reluctant heading into it. But … this process has worked for so many generations already, and it did for us!
The ease of moving through the applesauce process is lovingly outlined below by a friend who could not make it to the gathering, but sent a full write up of her experience and knowledge. Out in Iowa I guess there is more of a canning tradition than in NY! Canning instructions follow.
Thanks Jeanne for your Applesauce information and inspiration!
We love our low-energy high-reward applesauce (she says modestly).
Here’s how we do it:
1. use at least 3 different kinds of apples. if necessary, 2 kinds is good too. never just one. crisp ones like honeycrisp take longer to cook down, and don’t deliver a huge taste boost: they’re good eaten out of hand, and they’re spendier, so i tend to use less crisp ones. but really any kind will do.
2. cut with one of these apple core-and-slice thingies . do not bother to peel. the pieces you make with this thing should be cut into halves or thirds, and pitched into a vat to heat. *(mothering Mother Note – try to use organic apples. Try washing in a sink of water with vinegar, and rinse well. This helps to take off some of the applied apple coating)
3. no sugar. no water. no lemon juice. no nothing: just cut-up apples and a LOT of cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe some mace. turn on low, check that it’s actually warm enough … then cover and leave for an hour or so until soft when pricked with fork. *(mothering Mother Note – also try adding a small amount of ground cloves)
4. then cool it a bit and run the whole thing through a foley food mill (i have my grandmother’s). you will throw away a tiny bit of the peels unless you can find some use for them. i have also heard people say they put this all in a food processor, including the peels, but we don’t. *(mothering Mother Note – use the food mill)
5. good luck keeping some to freeze/can. my kids ate it all in 2 days!
If you have any left over, make this applesauce cake: it is out of this world. it comes from a memoir written by a woman who grew up dirt poor in iowa during the depression, and many of the recipes are amazing! *(mothering Mother Note – recipe for Applesauce Cake will follow next week!)
enjoy cheers j
p.s. my dear departed friend eden wrote this book: Applesauce Season. i think of her every time i make it — the three-sort trick is hers.
p.p.s. makes the house smell amazing. yummmm.