Friday, December 7, 2012

Applesauce Day again...

We held our annual Applesauce Day at the farm at the end of October and I am just now getting around to updating my notes about it. I don't have any photos because Bob took them, gave them to me on a flash drive and when I didn't get them off for a while he took it back because he needed it. I think he still has the photos on it, so I will have to get it back from him.

Actually, though, it looked like last year.  It was better because we didn't have any injuries and we didn't have any jars break and as far as I know, they all sealed.

Stats:  We  had 16 adults, 7 kids, 1 toddler and 1 baby participate. That is a lot of people in a one bedroom cottage on a rainy day, but we all did well. We canned around 8 bushels of apples which made a ton of applesauce, but I forget exactly how many quarts and pints. We ate a lot too.

Some things we tried that worked great:

  • For filled jars of sauce that had to wait a bit to can [because the canners were full], my friend Jenny suggested putting them in a warm oven so they wouldn't break when we put them in the boiling water bath to process. That was genius!
  • Sometimes I have trouble with the apples sticking to the bottom of the pan when we are cooking them and the apples scorch. This year we put stainless steel trivets on the bottom of the pans, then added about 1 C of water and then put in the apples. No scorching. It worked great. 
  • We used a plastic dish washing basin [what you put in a sink if you want to wash dishes] and put it on a small table next to the food mill to dump the cooked apples in. That way it was easy to scoop the cooked apples into the hopper of the food mill. 
  • I reminded everyone to put the jar lids in the hot water with one lid up and one lid down so they didn't get stuck together. 
We figured out that Jenny and I had our first Applesauce Day in 2001. which made this our 12th year. I wish I had kept track of how many quarts and pints we made over that much time. 

One of my friends brought her mom this year and the two of them made extensive notes. So, in order to help us all remember what we did and how we did it, I am copying them here [with a few additions of my own]. Thanks Karen.

Applesauce Day 2012 Notes
Prior to starting wash all apples
You will get approximately 18-20 quarts per bushel of apples
2012 cost of a bushel of apple seconds $18-20

1.        Blossom and Chop
a.       Cut out blossom end of apples
b.      Cut apples into 8 pieces leaving the cores, skin and stems on
c.       Remove and discard any sections of apple that you wouldn’t want to eat
d.      TIPS
                                                               i.      A vegetable peeler is useful for removing the blossom ends and can be safer than using a knife
                                                             ii.      Make sure knives are sharp…have a knife sharpener handy as blades get dull quickly when processing a lot of apples
                                                            iii.      Use paring knives to cut out the blossom end and larger knives for cutting
2.       Steam and Strain
a.       Put approximately 1.5 inches of water into bottom of a large pot [having a trivet on the bottom is helpful)
b.      Pour cut apples into pot and steam until soft, mixing periodically to keep them from burning
       Tip: When cooked put hot apples in a plasic dish basin so you can scoop them out easily.
c.       Meanwhile gently heat new lids for canning jars in water in a small pot to sterilize. Put the lids in wtih one right side up, one upside down, etc. This keeps them from sticking together. It is not fun if they get boiling water between the lids and it gets your hand when you remove them from the pan.] Remove lids from hot water when needed with a long handled canning magnet.
d.      Scoop soft apples [out of dish basin]  into hopper of a food strainer and crank to separate pulp from seeds, skin and stems
e.      Pour applesauce into canning jars up to the first thread using a canning funnel.
      Tip: Take a clean cloth and clean the top of each jar to remove any applesauce before putting the lid on.
f.        Put lid on and screw rim on securely
g.       TIPS
                                                               i.      Add a metal trivet to the bottom of pot to help keep apples from burning
                                                             ii.      A double-boiler/steamer/juicer pot with siphon is helpful (such as the Mehu-Liisa 10 Liter Stainless Steel Steam Juicer) and multi-functional
                                                            iii.      Another good option for keeping apples steaming without burning would be to use a large stock pot with deep colander insert (such as the Prime Pacific Pasta Cooker and Steamer set with glass lid)
                                                           iv.      Victorio VKP250 Model 250 Food Strainer and Sauce Maker is comparable to the original Villa Ware Food Strainer and Sauce Maker No 200 used during applesauce day
                                                             v.      To keep filled jars warm while waiting to can, place filled jars into a warmed oven
                                                           vi.      Put lids opposite sides together when boiling to keep them from suctioning together
                                                          vii.      A magnetic lid lifter is very helpful for taking out hot lids
                                                        viii.      A canning funnel is helpful when filling canning jars
                                                           ix.      Tupperware Modular Mates Rectangulars Rectangular 2 (18 cups (4.3 L)
4 1/2"H x 7 3/8"W x 11"L (11.5 x 19 x 28 cm) is the right size container for putting under the strainer to catch the finished applesauce pulp

                                                             x.      Things to have on hand:  a spatula (for the applesauce), long-handled wooden spoon (for stirring the apples in the pot), 2-3 wet washcloths (for wiping spills), magnetic lid lifter, canning ladle, small spoon (for spooning small amounts of applesauce), ladle (for scooping larger amounts of applesauce),  Tupperware rectangular container (for catching applesauce), mid-size bowl (for catching apple waste), large bowl (for stirring finished applesauce and dipping out sauce to put into canning jars), plastic tub or large bowl (for holding cooked apples while waiting to put apples into hopper of strainer), measuring cup (for scooping hot cooked apples into hopper), hot pads (for lifting hot pots)
3.       Canning
a.       Boil filled canning jars in a canner with a rack at a rolling boil for 25 minutes
b.      Set on a towel to cool
c.       Once cool, check to make sure all the lids have sealed
d.      TIPS:
                                                               i.      Remove finished jars from opposite sides of the canning rack or the rack may tip and dump the jars into the pot
                                                             ii.      Have a jar lifter handy
                                                            iii.      Things to have on hand:  canner with rack, hot pads, jar lifter, thick towels (to set hot jars on to insulate jars against drastic differences in temperature), timer

I guess I duplicated some of what Karen documented, but I don't think it hurts to say things more than once.
Also, so I can remember, we ate one batch of cornbread, several loaves of Jenny's bread, potato soup, a
crock-pot full of chili, seasoned oyster crackers, cubes of cheese [probably 1.5# would be the right
amount,]  cupcakes, green salad,  potato chips, water and various other snacks.  We never did make
hot dogs on the campfire because it rained all day, but miraculously we had enough food. I am not sure what
all we had because everyone pitched in but I didn't really eat much. A good time was had by all.

Take care,