I 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:
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:
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.