My wife, Dianne, is a great economizer. She's been canning every summer for many years and has accumulated a good store of goodies that we enjoy through out the year. The picture below shows some of her (and now my) work.
Some years are better for some produce than other years. Last year we canned a bunch of black berries and not many apples. This year is the opposite: we have a ton of apples and very few black berries. It apparently all depends on the weather, the timing of freezes, amount of rainfall, and how warm or cold the temperature is.
This year the apple tree down the hill is well supplied with apples. They're not large apples (I imagine because we've had a couple of months of drought), but they still have a good taste--and are almost bug free.
The first step in how we make applesauce is to cut the apple into smaller pieces. These apples were small enough to mostly cut into quarters. The ones from the tree below were free of worms, but apples from another place were quite infiltrated with worms, so more cutting was necessary.
The next step was to cook the apples.
After they were cooked, we put them into a colander-type manual machine. Ours is a Victorio brand, and Dianne has owned it for over 25 years. At that time, they were hard to find, but she found it in a wonderful hardware store in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. McGuckin Hardware is known to have just about everything anyone could want. Today, the internet can find just about anything we want! Back to the canning process--the cooked apples were then pushed down and smashed through a course sieve which forced the sauce from the apples. Dianne made sure enough water came through so the sauce wasn't too thick and pasty.
Through the years, Dianne has collected several hundred canning jars, mostly at garage sales. Lids and rings are needed every year, and a few years ago during the pandemic, lids were incredibly hard to find. This year, we have found as many as we think we will need. Dianne has also found that the safest way to ensure success is to use only canning jars with the brand name raised on them. Old glass jars such as mayonnaise jars sometimes don't seal properly.
The background shows the jars filled with and surrounded by hot water. The water must be hot and the sauce must also be hot.
The sauce-filled jars of apple sauce are now ready to be processed. They are covered with water and cooked in a hot-water bath. The cooking starts when the boiling begins and lasts for 20 minutes. The lid is taken off and the jars removed and left to cool.
The jars are now cooling. Now, we wait for the "POP" sound from each jar as it seals when the cooling air in the jar contracts and pulls the lid inward.
The payoff! Applesauce with vanilla ice-cream!
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