Archive for November 9th, 2011

Apples, Apples, and More Apples

Late afternoon sun glows on some of the applesauce I made

As many of you know from a previous post, I have apples coming out of my ears.  I couldn’t resist the many types of apples grown at local orchards, especially when they had “utilities” and “drops” – less than aesthetically perfect apples for thirty cents per pound.  Okay . . . with 150 lbs. sitting on my porch, I may have gone a bit overboard.  Two weeks later, 60 lbs remains, and like the last 10 lbs of a weight reduction diet, seems impossible to diminish.

I’ve been making apple chips which are a healthier version of potato chips, and much more delicious.  Even though there is sugar, I got the recipe  years ago from Weight Watcher’s, so I figure it can’t be too fattening:

Cinnamon Apple Crisps

2 small apples, Red Delicious or Gala, sliced paper thin (I use a mandolin slicer)
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon

*   Preheat oven to 200 degrees F
*   Line 2 baking sheets with parchment
paper (not wax paper). Place apple slices
in a single layer on parchment paper; sprinkle with
sugar and cinnamon.
*   Bake until lightly browned, about 2 hours. (note: at the two-hour mark the apples are dry and leathery.  I prefer them very crispy like chips, so I continue baking for a total of 2.5 – 3 hours.)

Cool on wire rack and serve, or store in airtight container.

Really, how much cider can you drink?  (A lot!)

When I was making cider, I noticed when using my juicer that if I didn’t clean the sieve after 5 or so apples, the juice became very thick and pulpy.  After 10 apples, the sieve was no longer straining very well at all, and the “juice” was really more like a watery applesauce.  I realized that I now had an easy way to use up my apples!  So I took this applesauce wannabe goop, added some cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, and simmered it in a pot on low heat until some of the liquid dissolved and it was thicker.  It made an absolutely delicious applesauce and it was sugar-free!

Now I had a different problem:  how to store 12 quarts of applesauce?  I headed down to Wal Mart and bought canning jars in pint and half-pint sizes.

(A side note about my trip to Wal Mart:  I could not find the canning jars, so I asked a store employee what aisle they were in.  “Follow me,” he said, and proceeded to walk me to the other end of the store.  “You can just tell me what aisle it’s in, you don’t have to walk me the whole way,” I suggested.  “Oh, that’s all right,” he said agreeably, “that’s my job!”

Wow.  I can’t remember the last time an employee in my home town, and certainly not at the Wal Mart there, was so amenable.  Here in the White Mountains, when a store clerk asks, “May I help you?” they actually mean it!  This has been the case wherever I go, whatever the type of store.)

When I got home, I sterilized the canning jars and the lids, and then packed the jars with the bubbling hot applesauce, filling to within 3/4″ of the top of the jar.  I tightened the lids, and immersed the sealed jars in a pressure cooker filled with boiling water, and let it “cook” under pressure for 15 minutes.  Carefully removing the hot jars from the pot, I let them cool at room temperature.  Now the jars were hermetically sealed, and my applesauce would have a shelf life of up to 2 years.

Afterwards I was thinking about the whole applesauce-making process.  It wasn’t that difficult, but it took time.  I realized I would never have attempted this in my hometown – – I’m always distracted, and always, as my mother a”h would have said, “running like a chicken with its head cut off.”  Time is something we just never seem to have enough of.

It felt nice to be able to slow down.