Today was a saucy kind of day.
Applesauce-making kind of day.
(Therefore, I should probably say that it also ended up being an exceptionally sticky day as well. But some good old soap and water remedied that part nicely, leaving our day at the end of the day, simply saucy. )
Here's what the Pickles and I did to tackle our mountain of orchard fresh apples:
Peel, slice, core and toss in a pot. Thanks to this handy gadget, it was a painless process. A few of the more ripe apples we did by hand, but this little contraption is a true time-saver. We used a mix of Jonathan, Fuji, Empire, and just a few Autumn Crisp apples thrown in because they looked good! We averaged about 12-16 apples per 5.5 quart pot. Once we filled each pot to the brim, I took it to the stove and added 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice to each pot (to help reduce browning) and turned on the heat. I cooked the apples just until they softened. I didn't want them to completely mush, or even to cook down. I wanted them soft enough to be able to puree them in the food processor. Each pot cooked for about 12-15 minutes before I removed the pot from the heat and pureed the apples in batches. Once pureed, the apples looked like this:
Yep, they looked like applesauce! The Pickles all grabbed a fresh spoon for one taste-testing bite to see how they had done.
The verdict: Approved. As a matter of fact, we passed with such high honors, that we had hurry to the next step before we were all tempted to just keep the spoons going and "taste-test" our bowl all the way down to the last saucy speck!
We took turns filling the jars.
This funnel, from my canning supplies, is the next handiest gadget for this saucy process. It makes filling both wide and regular mouth jars both easy and mess-free for Pickles (and their chef!). Once our jars were filled, leaving headspace for expansion, I let them cool for just a bit at room temperature. I then added lids and put the jars in the refrigerator to cool completely. Once cool, into the freezer they go until the winter snow flies and we miss the fresh apple flavors of fall.
The task wasn't complete until the peelings and cores were fed to the chickens.
Oh, and we set aside enough apples at the end to make our Apple Crisp--the perfect culmination to our saucy day! It was an all-around win-win sort of day for Pickles and apples both.