We already have some apples off of our trees! I don’t know if it’s the weather or the pruning Scott did in spring, but the tree I picked from has been going CRAZY this season.
I probably could have left a lot of the apples on the tree, but we were running into some issues, and I didn’t want all of the apples to spoil on the tree. A lack of proper pruning for the past few years (at minimum) has led to issues with bugs on our fruit. All of our trees were very overgrown when we moved in at the end of last summer. Spraying the trees would definitely reduce or eliminate bugs from our fruit, but we are trying to not go that route…Proper maintenance of a fruit tree will make the tree and fruit healthy. Healthy plants are more disease and insect resistant. Pruning won’t completely eliminate the problems, but it would be a huge step in the right direction. Sadly, it will probably take another year or two before the trees are to a place where they should be. Hopefully next year we can at least set bug traps. That in conjunction with the pruning should make a big difference.
The fruit on our tree seems to be having issues partly from a lack of pruning in the past, and partly because of heavy pruning this spring. The fruit is so tightly clustered, that if one piece is going bad, it is more likely to affect the others. And some of the fruit seems to be cracking (it’s a very soft variety), as if it is getting more water than the fruit can handle. Plus there are two new shoots on the tree that just flowered this week, which just goes to show how confused the tree is. On top of that, there are the usual bugs and birds coming out for their share. So, to keep the fruit from all going to the critters, we decided to pick as much as we could for now off of that tree.
Well, I got about a bushel and a half of these apples, and since they required dissecting to check for insects, I turned them into cinnamon applesauce! I was able to make 3 quarts of applesauce AND feed the four older kids each a about a cup of applesauce. Our little guy was very excited that Mommy was going to make “appasaz” (applesauce)!
As I said, I started by cutting all of the apples into quarters, leaving the peel and seeds in, threw them into one of my large pots (10 qts.) with three cups of water.
I boiled the mixture down until the apples began to fall apart, then I mashed them with my potato masher until I eliminated a large portion of the big chunks.
Next I set up my food mill and ladled 2-3 scoops of fruit pulp into the mill, and start spinning!
I ran everything through until there were only seeds and peels left in the mill. For easy cleaning, you just spin the mill backwards, and it scrapes everything off of the bottom. You can do what you like with that, but I just tossed mine in the garbage.
After I ran everything through the mill and was left with just the applesauce, I tested a little to check the flavor. Since I used some apples that were not completely ripe, it was fairly tart so I added a 1/4 cup of white sugar. I’d normally not sweeten it at all, but like I said, it was pretty tart, so… Then I added about 2-3 tablespoons of cinnamon to the whole pot and brought it back up to a low boil.
While all of that was going, I was bringing my water bath to a boil and cleaning my jars and lids at the same time. After everything was up to temp, I ladled the sauce into the jars, leaving a half inch of headspace.
Gently scrape down the insides of the jar with a rubber spatula to try to remove any bubbles, clean the rims of the jars with a clean, dry towel, and place the lids on, securing with bands.
Process closed jars in water bath for 20 minutes. If any of your seals don’t set, it’s okay, but you should ALWAYS used that food as soon as possible, stick it in your fridge if you can’t get to it immediately.
Here is the link to the site I used for my recipe. http://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/2014/09/how-to-can-applesauce.html
What are your favorite apple recipes? I can’t wait to make cider this year!