my thoughts on motherhood, kids, books and stuff

“A Closed Jar Catches No Flies”

applesauceI bought about 100 lbs. of apples over three weeks ago so I have been making and canning applesauce a few nights a week. It is a bit time consuming. I have been turning on a little Norah Jones or Joss Stone and singing along while I peel, core, and chop away.

I put the peeled, cored, and chopped apple pieces in a mixture of water and a few squirts of lemon juice to soak for about 3-5 minutes before I put them in the pan. This helps keep the applesauce from turning brown. I fill the two biggest pans that I have (which aren’t huge), add 1/4th to 1/2 cup of sugar, just enough water to fill the bottoms of the pans and let the apples cook down on low heat until they are soft. This usually takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When they are nice and mushy I mash them with a potato masher. (if you like less textured applesauce you could throw it in the blender to puree.) I fill seven sterilized quart jars (because that is what fits in the steamer) and steam process them for 25 minutes. Anything that is left over I put in a container in the fridge for us to eat for the next couple of days.

If I don’t feel like waiting for the apples to cook down or I don’t want to process jars for the night I just fill my crockpot with chopped apples, a small amount of water, and a bit of sugar (and cinnamon if you prefer…we don’t.) and set it on low until morning. It makes the house smell wonderful when we wake up. Most of my kids don’t like to eat the applesauce warm, but they love it after it has cooled off a bit. Even if I use the water/lemon juice bath, when I make it in the crockpot it is always a much darker color. It tasted just as great though!

As I was putting away some jars that I made a couple of weeks ago I found this:

fruit fly jar

That black spot in the center of the jar is a fruit fly. On the inside of the jar.

Then as I was arranging the jar to take a picture I also found this:

eyelash jar

Yep. An eyelash. Also on the inside of the jar. At least they were in the same jar.

Soooo….I discovered (online) a trick to get rid of fruit flies. I wish I had found it before I canned this jar.

Put some apple cider vinegar in a shallow bowl and then add a couple of drops of dish soap. The smell is very strong, but it works. While I am working at the counter I put the box of fruit on the table away from the fruit I am chopping. I put the the bowl of cider next to the box on the table and the flies are drawn away from my work area to the bowl of cider where they drown. It also helps draw out any flies from the box. The first time I did it I caught at least 20. Gross, I know. But not as gross as it would have been if I hadn’t caught them. If you have a problem with fruit flies leave a bowl or two of this mixture out for the night and you will be surprised at how many you can catch.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find a trick for keeping eyelashes from falling out and into the food. I haven’t noticed that my eyelashes are any thinner so hopefully that is the only one I will find.

I used a mixture of Golden Delicious, Gala, and Jonagold apples and it turned out great. I just pulled the ripest apples from each box so each batch turned out slightly different.

I also added red hot candies to a few of the jars for some cinnamon applesauce that we will use during the holidays.


  • I love cooking but for some reason cooking with music is a whole different level of enjoyment. I have been building special play lists for cooking; Jones and Stone are both on them. The killer is when a family member come into the family room attached to the kitchen and turns on the TV. I am glad they are there so I kill my music but some time I just want to take the TV and chuck it.

    I think with the eyelashes you just need to tell everyone it is lucky if they find one. Wow kids, you found one… make a wish.

  • This is awesome. The applesauce looks so yummy, and cinnamon for the Holidays, mmmm. Canning is something that I have never done but have wanted to. Maybe next year? We’ll see.

  • Eugene

    looking forward for more information about this. thanks for sharing. Eugene

  • I so needed that tip about drowning the little suckers. It’s unbelievable how fast they multiply.

    I’ll have to try the Jonagolds.

  • Jana

    I personally have never canned anything since I left home. My mom did it, and still does, but I have never tackled that one on my own. I guess now that I’m not working I might have to give it a try. Your apple sauce looks so good.

  • Good news about the fruit fly battle. That is the worst part of canning in my opinion. Those darned little things drive me nuts. Your applesauce looks great. I bet Kai loves it … he even loved it warm when I was there!

  • That brings back memories of mint applesauce from mom. So did the fruit fly get a proper ecumenical service?

  • Maryanne

    A few weeks ago we put up 60 quarts of grape juice (I know, we are insane). I opened one the other day and poured me a tall, cold glass of the sweet stuff. As I got close to the bottom of the glass as I was drinking it, I noticed a small black ball coming right at my mouth. I put the glass down to examine the “ball” thinking that surely it was just a piece of grape. Upon further investigation I saw 8 little tiny legs sticking out of a body. Yip, it was a spider. Dead, of course (processing will do that to a bug!). Ick. I almost drank him!

  • Ann

    Fruit flies are nothing compared to the year that a bat flew into my attached room to our house where I did all my canning. None of my boys were home to help me – but uncle Bill came to my rescue. Ugh! Thanks for the fruit fly remedy though – I could have used that one through the years.

  • whim

    Okay, I would WAY rather deal with a dead fruit fly than a spider or a bat!