What should you do with all the apples you’ll get during the fall season?
I try to make lots of applesauce each fall. Last year I found some apple pie filling recipes I liked, so I went crazy with those, but this year I’m going back to basics. I don’t know too much about daily eating habits in other countries, but in Flanders we will eat applesauce with dinner. An American friend of mine thought we were funny for doing this, because for her apple sauce is just baby food. I suppose this is one area where our sweet tooth shows.
It is incredibly easy and practical and I’m sure every canning enthusiast will agree with me. If you are new to canning, try this. It’s a no-fuss recipe that allows you to focus on the cleanliness of your canningmethod. The mass of apples we can get during fall can be simply cut up, cooked to mush and preserved in jars that only need to be sterilized and water bathed. I don’t add sugar! Sometimes I add lemon juice, but you can leave that out if you want to.
I used mainly Royal Gala and Red Prince apples for this one.
I only do small batches when canning. My biggest pot only fits three jars at a time (working on improvement).
This really is all there is to it. Peel and core your apples, cut them into large chunks, put everything into a pot and slowly cook and stir everything until it has turned into applesauce. If you are using this as baby food, slice apples into smaller pieces and make sure you definitely have taken out the entire core.
Sterilize your jars by boiling them in the canner for about 10 minutes, remove jars from water, pour out most of the water and air dry. I use jars with separate rubber rings, cook these separately in a smaller pot. Scoop applesauce into the jars. Before you close the jars, you can add some lemon juice if you like. Process jars for 20 minutes.
Don’t forget to use the apple peels and cores for something useful too!
I only can small batches at a time, because I don’t have wide enough pots to can more jars in one go. This is actually good, because it allows me to feed most of the apple peels to my rabbits. If I’d feed them peels and cores from 30+ apples in a day, they’ll probably get bloat. So, limit the amount you give your animals.
I don’t make this very often as I usually have more jams and jellies to make than I could ever eat on my own, but you can use apple peels and cores to extract juice to make apple jelly.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I also set aside a jar of cores and peels for apple cider vinegar. Sterilize a jar, fill it with cores and peels and cover the contents with water to about an inch away from the rim. Don’t leave the rubber ring on the lid when you close it. If you are using mason jars, use the ring and replace the lid with a piece of cheesecloth. For fermentation to take place, air needs to get inside. I have succeeded in making it without added sugar, but you might ruin a batch or two this way. Your safest option is to add a tablespoon of sugar. Stir the contents once a day for 6 days, then let it set for 12 days. After 12 days you can take the solids out, filter the liquid through a cheesecloth into bottles and let it sit for another 12 days. I keep making small batches throughout the year, so I don’t worry about preservation too much. But once the vinegar is acidic enough, close the bottle and keep it in the fridge or on a cold countertop.