I did get my act together to make applesauce, and I made a pretty big batch (for me). When I’ve been making dilly beans, I make 4 pints at a time, so I process them in my new lobster pot with a round cooling rack on the bottom, which is smaller and easier to deal with than the big lobster/canning pot. However, I had a lot of apples, and once you’re wiping your counters down with bleach and boiling shit, it does seem like a go big or go home situation.
This is only a very small portion of the apples I washed and peeled and cored.
I don’t know that I’d call 7 pints “going big” by the standards of people who can regularly, but it counts for me.
I had a bit of a revelation this time around, though. Normally I use a microplane to peel some of the apples so I can keep the peels in with the apples (because it seems like the right thing to do with regards to fiber and nutrients and pretty pink color, but I can’t really back that up). If you leave the peels on, they don’t cook down as quickly as the apples do, and they remain kind of tough in the sauce. But if you chop them up small or grate them, then they cook faster and aren’t swimming around in there in chunks. It is annoying to zest a large number of apples, though, so I started peeling them and then stuffing the peels in my food processor and whizzing them, which worked really nicely.
Anyway, peeling and chopping that number of apples takes forever. And then I got to the bag with the Martha apples.
You have got to be fucking kidding me. But no. Not kidding.
Martha Crab Apples are really, really small.
Another note about applesauce: I like to use a variety of apples (even when I don’t have six different varieties in paper bags in my fridge), because I think it makes better and more interesting and more apple-y tasting applesauce. That does mean that the apples don’t cook down totally evenly. Get it so they’re mostly cooked down and then use a potato masher and then, as you’re stirring at the end, mash up any big apple pieces with the back of your spoon.
And because you’re using different varieties of apples, the sweetness varies by batch. Generally, I add a small amount of sugar and some lemon juice. I also add some spices, but not much, because I like the applesauce to be pretty versatile. Before you pack everything into jars and process them, though, taste the sauce and adjust the sugar.
In the end the whole process was easier than I remembered. But maybe I’ve just gotten more used to it.*
* Also, I learned this time around that it’s normal with applesauce to have some of the sauce ooze out of the jars when you process them or immediately after. I was always really worried about that, but the seal was always good.