Yep, Apple Sauce! I have found over the last few months with my vegan baking kick i am burning through apple sauce like nobodies business. This has been a goal since the end of summer with all of the apples appearing out in the world and others beautiful canning projects teasing me. Unfortunately i had this crazy notion that i also was somehow going to find the time to go and actually pick these apples myself, HA!!! So this project lingered and collected dust until the 4th time in a row of the grocery store being OUT of plain apple sauce. I mean seriously people! How am i supposed to live my ridiculously healthy lifestyle that the bay area commands without a good organic apple sauce available at my local grocery store ; )
So i brought 15 lbs of apples, ha, that will teach the grocery store to be out of apple sauce. I was surprised at how inexpensive organic apples were just down the street from my house. They are from Oregon, which is not the closest apple farm by far, but it’s better than Chile or Mexico where so much of other American produce comes from. Okie, i’ll set that aside to rant about another day.
Back to the beautiful apples… I picked up one 5 lb bag of each of the following: Grannysmith, Gravenstien, and Pink Lady. I washed, chopped, and de-stemmed all 15 lbs in about an episode of This American Life (45 minutes and what i usually cook to). Through the chopping i made the decision to skip the softer types next year (Gravenstien/Pink Lady) and look for look for firmer red apples to help keep up with the texture of the Grannysmiths.
After all of the chopping i got to cook the apples to help soften them up for the next step … food mill! To help explain my excitement at the mention of a food mill let’s recap my childhood quickly. i grew up in a super suburban southern California home with a backyard that was 20 feet deep and the width of our 1400 sq ft the house, period. We divided the yard into three equal sections and managed to squeeze in a couple of fruit trees (plum, peach, and nectarine), small garden (even some sad grapes), and a square of grass that was 18’ x 18’ and a favorite for the dogs (two 120 lb+ animals really need some nature). Not so farm like, there was no playing in the fields and until the garden when i was 8 or 9-ish i had never seen food growing in the ground. So as a child the one time when mom borrowed the giant and awesome food mill from grandma was a stupendous event. I don’t even remember what we used it for, just that it left an impression. I was so excited when i got to pull out my brand new food mill that was purchased for the apple saucing in particular, and also amazed when shopping for one and how much they have changed over the years. Grandma’s clamped onto the table and we had to how the bowl to catch everything underneath it, or use a stool. Now they just sit over a bowl, thank for for 21st century improvements.
And then it was mushy apple-y goodness…mmmmmmm. I decided to keep the jars all plain and unsweetened so they can be used for either baking or tasty afternoon snacks. I have only had the opportunity to taste the leftovers, but with a dash of cinnamon, awesome! The 15 lbs yielded 7 pints, not bad. It will be interesting to see how much is left after the holiday baking.