Applesauce, 2013

Once again, we continued our yearly tradition of apple picking and applesauce making.

2013_09_29_9999_3

We only picked half a bushel or so, and then bought the rest (3 3/4 bushels total).

It used to be that if you picked the apples yourself, they were cheaper (which makes sense because you’re providing the labor). Now it’s totally flipped, and picking the apples is actually more expensive than buying the pre-picked ones. Now you’re paying extra for the “experience” of apple picking, not to mention the hayrides, live bands, pumpkin patches, the whole nine.

Well, we just want the apples.

2013_09_29_9999_27

We literally opened last year’s last jar of applesauce days before we made this year’s batch, which has never happened before. So we know about how much applesauce we go through in a year. The answer is a LOT. Also, we usually do this in combination with my mom, but this year we were flying solo.

2013_09_29_9999_55

It took Sara and I long into the night, but we managed to can 43 quarts and 13 pints of applesauce.  That’s a whole lot of applesauce y’all. Our pantry is once again fully stocked to apocalypse levels.

2013_09_29_9999_71

See you next year applesauce maker!

 

This week in canning news

Applesauce, 2011

One of our family traditions is picking apples for homemade applesauce. This is something I’ve done since I was a kid, and one thing that I’m really excited to share with my own kids. Usually we do it in Indiana, but we were having trouble finding a way to fit it in. However, one of Evie’s new classmates’ families was looking for some picking partners, which was fortuitous for us: we got to meet some people from Evie’s new school, and we got to pick some apples!

I was kind of bummed that Sara couldn’t go with us, since by definition it’s a family thing. Nevertheless, it was a pretty nice day. Evie, Oliver and I had a great time at the orchard, followed by a picnic lunch and some time at a playground.

We went to the More Than Delicious orchard, which was pretty far from us, but would be a stone’s throw if you lived in the North West suburbs. It was better than I anticipated; bigger, with more varieties than I expected (or were advertised!), and not at all busy (although we were there early on a Friday morning). Apples are a lot more expensive in Chicago than in Indiana. They were charging $50 a bushel, when they’re only $26 a bushel back home. However, they did have “wind-fallen” apples, which are basically just a random assortment of whatever they picked up off the ground, for half price. This particular orchard doesn’t spray much, so there are some bug holes, etc., but for applesauce the wind-fallen ones were perfect. Even with the half-price apples though, we’re still producing applesauce at about the same price we could buy it from the store (and this is assuming our time is worthless!). So it’s definitely for the experience, not to save money!

But the experience is nothing to scoff at. And, as expected, Evie and Oliver loved eating the apples!

I think they ate 3 apiece at the orchard, but when we got home we couldn’t keep Oliver out of them. He even climbed up a chair and onto the table to find them! He liked to take one bite of each and then put them back.

Both Evie and Oliver were pretty keen to help with the applesauce. Evie was actually a big helper all day, both with the actual apples (she cleaned almost all of them by herself), and also with just staying occupied and letting Sara and I get the work done.

It’s a big job and we expected it to take all day. We got started as soon as possible after breakfast, but things were actually going quite smoothly. I guess we weren’t really expecting that both of us would be able to work on it. It still ended up taking 6 hours total, but a lot of that is at the end when you’re just waiting for the jars to process. In fact, it was so leisurely, Sara ended up baking muffins!

At the end of the day, we ended up canning 15 quarts, with another almost full jar in the fridge. Last year we had in the neighborhood of 22 jars, and it only lasted us until spring, even with trying to make it last as long as possible! So we could probably use more, however, now that we can mark this tradition off the list, maybe we’ll just end up supplementing from the store. On the other hand, nothing tastes quite as good as homemade!

 

Tis not a man, tis an eating machine

Oliver loves eating. I think that it’s not so much that he is a good eater, but more that Evie was a bad eater. Getting her to eat was *always* a major effort, involving singing, dancing, distraction, etc. Oliver gets mad at you if you’re not shoveling it in fast enough. Believe me, it’s better the second way.

This video is a little old, but it shows the first time we let him try applesauce. I guess it was a little sour…

I’ve watched this video 100 times, and still those faces make me laugh. Notice that it doesn’t dissuade him from wanting to eat the applesauce!