My house smells delicious. Apples, sugar, and cinnamon cooking on the stove make it feel even more like fall. This morning while K was eating breakfast, I peeled, cored, and chopped 28 apples to try my hand at my first ever solo batch of freezer applesauce. I’ve made applesauce before, but it’s usually only enough for what I needed at the moment. I’ve also “helped" my mom make quarts of canned applesauce as a kid and swore I would never have any part of it after I became an adult. It felt like pure torture to be trapped in a kitchen for hours and hours peeling, coring, slicing, boiling, and canning apples.
My mom has an addiction to canning and freezing. (If you're reading this mom, then I mean it only in the best possible way of course :-) During my childhood years we canned a wide variety of vegetables, jams, tomatoes, sauces, even grape juice! We also froze fruit and other sauces. But it wasn’t that we canned or froze these things that made me loathe it. It was the sheer quantity. Imagine being elbow deep in cherries, washing and pitting for what seemed like an eternity. My fingers, hands, and arms were stained a deep red that would last for days and almost all feeling in the tips of my fingers were gone for the same amount of time. We didn’t use cherry pitters, we used our fingers to pry each and every pit from the 160 pounds (YES, ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY POUNDS) of cherries. Just when I thought I never wanted to see another cherry again, another box of u-picked cherries (which we had spent the entire morning picking) would plop next to the sink for us to wash and pit. It was the same with strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, green beans, berries of all kinds, and so many more that I've forgotten. Thus, in that kitchen, beneath pounds of fruit and vegetables, my aversion was born.
In the summers there were the 4 of us girls and my mom home everyday. So regularly we’d pile into the van, drive to a local grower, pick fruit or vegetables all morning, and come home to clean, cut, prepare, and can or freeze them. We rarely picked less than 100 pounds and we never got out of the chore of preparing them no matter how creative our excuses (and we came up with some pretty good ones!). Although I have to say, we enjoyed the fruit of our labor all year and the homemade spaghetti sauce we routinely made was the best I’ve tasted.
I have canned a few times with my mom since I’ve been married, but only on the condition that we do a much scaled down version from my growing up years. I have never canned or frozen applesauce since those days until today. I picked a very simple recipe I found online and multiplied it by 7 since I wanted to use around 30 apples. Here’s the original recipe from Allrecipes.com:
4 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pretty easy. The applesauce tastes great. I’ll probably keep looking for more applesauce recipes until I find a can’t-live-without-it one. BTW, thanks mom for the introduction to canning and freezing. I do sincerely appreciate it now that I’ve had over 15 years to recover ;-)
Here are the before, during and after pictures from this morning: