Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Canning Applesauce

So, my mom gave me this awesome birthday present. It's just what any aspiring Domestic Goddess would want, right?

I promptly went out and bought 3 half-bushel boxes of apples (and the salsa screen for next year's salsa making!!) By the way, you can also get the pumpkin screen, the berry screen, the grape spiral. Want a Victorio? See

If you are in Utah County, they are sold at the Bosch Kitchen Store in Orem. If you are in the Ogden area, they are sold at Kitchen Kneads.

Using the applesauce recipe in the Ball Blue Book, first I quartered the apples, popped them into some water-filled pots, and cooked them until tender. By the way, I used a combo of Red Delicious and Jonagold and the sauce was sweet enough that I didn't add any sugar.

After the apples cooked, they were dumped into Kat's 45-quart bowl (Jealous? Want one? Kat will take care of you over at Ram Kitchen Supplies). Seriously, people, I love Kat and I love Kat's bowl.

Next came the ooey gooey part, which the family loved. Unless you are an octopus, it would be helpful to have the following helpers: The Crank Turner, The Plunger, The Chute Filler, The Scraper, and The Boss (that's me!)

The Crank Turner had to crank so much that his arms hurt. No pain, no applesauce, I guess.

The Ball recipe required me to hot pack the applesauce, which meant I had to put it back into a pan, bring it to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes. Then I packed the applesauce into clean jars, affixed hot lids and rings, and processed according to published instructions.

Sorry. There is not pic of the finished product. But I did get 15 quarts from the apples I had bought (although the family had eaten quite a few before we started, so I would have gotten more).

I can't wait to do it again.

P.S. Want a tip straight from the School of Hard Knocks? I learned that if you cook the apples until they are REALLY mushy, they go through the food mill SO much easier and you get a bigger yield. I think my first batch wasn't quite cooked well enough, which meant there was a lot of muscle-hurting crankin' to do. Live and learn, yes?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Canning Peaches

I'll admit that I'm a rookie at canning peaches. This is only my second go-around, but I decided to document the process.

My first attempt (years ago) was not successful because I chose a good eating peach, not a good canning peach, and I think they were too ripe. I had used Angelos on my first attempt and will never do that again.

This year I selected O'Henries. I would have preferred to have bought Lemon Elbertas, but it was too late in the season by the time I got around to it (you know what they say about snoozing and losing....) Whatever peach you decide to get, make sure the pit is free (freestone) and not a cling. You'll hate yourself if you get cling peaches.

Also, I used Ball's Blue Book for instructions and processing times, adjusted processing times according to their elevation chart, and elected to use an extra-light syrup.

I like to do as much prep work ahead of time as possible, because once the skins come off the peaches, they begin to brown. So, I prepped two recipes of syrup and had it ready to go.

Also, I always wash my jars ahead of time, and I keep my lids and rings in a pot of hot water on the stove. Also, I wash all the fruit before I begin.

Next, I filled one side of the sink with COLD water and put a strainer in the other side (for skins and stems).

Using several pots of scalding hot water, I blanch the peaches for about 1 minute (the skins will begin to wrinkle or split). You don't want to cook the peaches so it is important to get them out pronto.

The blanched peaches then get dumped into the sink of cold water, and if you are lucky, you can get your kids to skin them for you!

Quickly pit and slice into halves, quarters or smaller slices (more can fit into the bottles if the peaches are sliced smaller). Some people scrape the reddish brown inner part of the peach out. Whatever. Do it if you want.

I fill a bowl of cold water with fruit fresh in it so that the peaches won't brown too much. Then I fill jars, shaking/twisting the jar occasionally to settle the fruit into the bottom. Some people painstakingly arrange the slices in pretty layers. Whatever. Do it if you want.

Don't forget to get a pot of syrup on while you are slicing and filling bottles. When it is ready, fill each jar, wipe the rim, and affix the lid and ring.

Then process according to process method and instructions. This recipe called for water bathing. Just as a reminder, you begin counting the processing time when the water is at a rolling boil. And, of course, the lid should be used!

After processing, let them cool and wait for the ***POP*** When totally cool, check each seal, wipe them down, remove the rings, date, and store. Then eat.