This is a family tradition. Every year, my siblings and their significant others come together and make applesauce at my parent's house. We travel north to participate because the best saucing apple comes from up north. Red Cortlands. They make beautiful sweet, apple-ly, pink sauce. I've tried other apples and they are just not the same. A couple days before everyone arrived in town, my parents went to a local orchard and picked up our family's order of 28 baskets (the equivalent of 14 bushels) of Red Courtlands.
If you know me (and my mom), you know that the first thing you do when you have a boat load of fruit is make a pie. We made my mom's apple pie and a pear raspberry tart (in a pie plate). First things first.
Aren't these apples gorgeous?? Here is how things went this weekend.... Jamey, my mom and I started in Friday morning. On Saturday morning, a whole bunch more people came and chipped in, doing what took my mom, Jamey and I all day on Friday, in just the morning. Did that last sentence make sense? Ok. First, you wash the apples.
Next, we quartered them, leaving the skins and seeds in place, but removing the stems.
Then, we cooked them in pots on the stove in an inch or two of water until they got nice and soft.
This contraption (for those of you who haven't seen one before) is called a Squeezo or Victoria strainer or a food mill/strainer. You put the hot apples in the top. Then, you use a plunger, of sorts, to press the apples down the hopper as you turn the crank. The skins and seeds fall out of one end and into the tray to the back. The apple sauce gets pushed through a metal screen and flows down and into the apple sauce pan. Jamey is plunging and Sam is turning.
Here, you can see what happens when you add red raspberries (fresh or frozen) into the hopper with the cooked apples. The sqeezo takes the raspberry seeds out and you get this beautiful raspberry applesauce. I usually set enough red raspberries aside to make about a third of my sauce like this. It's simply delicious.
Here's my Sadie girl, helping to scrape the sauce down into the tray. Once the tray is full, you can mix in whatever (if any) amount of sugar into the warm sauce and ladle it into containers to freeze. Before we bought our second freezer, I canned a lot of my apple sauce. I ladled it into hot jars and hot water bathed them to get a seal.
Now, on Saturday, when we had an additional 10 people, we set up two applesauce stations. In addition to the kitchen, we set up a big table in my parent's garage, borrowed my Grammie's sqeezo and did double duty. We also borrowed their portable stove so we could cook apples right there and we used the laundry room sink to wash them.
Below are two pictures of the upstairs operation. My mom's parents and my dad's mother (Grandma, who visited us in August) helped work the upstairs operation while my dad, Jamey and my brother, made up the garage team.
It really is a lot of set up, work and clean up, but it's so much fun to do it all together. Many hands make light work and good applesauce.
Our share of the booty? We brought home 14 baskets (7 bushels) worth of sauce (144 quarts) and one bag of apples for baking. We barely managed to wrestle it into our freezers. Several quarts didn't make it in, so they are in our fridge just waiting to be eaten. Hmmmm. I do feel a little hungry.... Pin It