Thursday, November 11, 2010

Test Kitchen Thursday - Applesauce

My family LOVES applesauce!  When I was growing up I remember my mom would sometimes let me go down to the basement and pick out the fruit for supper.  I loved this responsibility - standing looking at the shelves of canned goods tasked with choosing just the right item.  Now sometimes mom would tell me no cherries - I loved her canned cherries - would have eaten them for every meal.  So, my second choice was her applesauce.  A close third were the peaches!

So what fun to make applesauce with my own little guys.  And eventually when they're old enough I'll task them with picking the fruit for supper!

Here is what I started out with - 12 pounds of apples.  I needed to use up the Red and Golden Delicious apples that we picked in Indiana.  In addition, (to add flavor) I bought some Fuji and Granny Smith.

I used the applesauce recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  You can find the recipe HERE on Ball's website too!  

When processing I always used an approved recipe.  The ingredients for applesauce are pretty straight forward - apples, lemon juice and sugar (if needed).  I decided to just go with plain old applesauce since I can use it in baking this way.  Plus, I can always add red hots or cinnamon/spices to it before serving if we want something special.  Mmmm - warm cinnamon applesauce!

The boys wanted to help too (nothing new there - I'm raising a couple little chefs).  They were fascinated by all the tools.

Here's where my test kitchen piece comes in.  I've made plenty of applesauce but always the hard way.  This year I tested a couple different pieces of equipment.  Last year (after apple season) we bought a counter top apple slicer, peeler, corer.  It DID NOT work today - at least not for me.  What's worse after just a few apples the tines bent.  The only plus was the boys enjoyed turning the crank (and no, mommy was working it when it broke - not them).

So, I chucked in that idea.  Not wanting to waste time I decided to just chop the apples up, soften them up and run through the KitchenAid.  YES - that was the answer!  I did not core or peel - just chopped up.  After softening the apples on the stove and allowing a brief cool down I put them through the Fruit/Vegetable strainer attachment on my KitchenAid.  Perfect applesauce!

Mom and dad gave this to us last year and we used it for processing pumpkin (it was after apple season).  Worked great for pumpkin so hoped it would be perfect for apples.  Last year it took my sister-in-law and I HOURS of work putting all of our applesauce through food mills and even after all that hand cranking there were still bits and pieces of peel in the sauce.  Took me all of 20 minutes to process my applesauce through the KitchenAid strainer.  If you do a lot of processing, make your own baby food, etc and you don't have one of these it should be on your Christmas list!

Yes, I am very thankful to have my KitchenAid - my original was a wedding gift from mom and dad, later they upgraded me to the 5 quart and my sister inherited my original.  I can truly say we're a KitchenAid family - mom always had one (at least as long as I can remember) and so did my grandma.  In fact, we found my grandma's original in her basement when we cleaned it out - it had to be one of the first produced.  So yes, this family believes in our mixers (and I'm not paid a dime to say that)!

Back on task - the boys thoroughly enjoyed watching the sauce come out and the little fruit "poo" drop down into the second bowl (which the chickens later enjoyed).

In no time at all we had over 4 quarts of sauce.

I ended up with 8 1/2 pints.  We would have had 9 pints but we sampled some for lunch.  I only used 1 1/2 cups of sugar (rather than the 3 in the recipe) since the sauce was already pretty sweet.  Plus, I like my applesauce slightly tart.

Once I get the recipe officially typed up and filed in my 2011 ISF entry folder I can add one more entry to the list.  I'm on an apple kick this week - I think we need some apple butter and the recipe for cinnamon apple syrup just looks too yummy to pass up.  This family doesn't buy store bought syrup anymore.  We only use the fruit syrups we've put up - so much better!  I do buy a little pure maple syrup from Vermont because sometimes you still need a little maple goodness!

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