Making Applesauce: The Saucy Drama

So, I’m working on making applesauce for the first time and thought I’d share my fun story with you… if for no other reason than to just keep me motivated and laughing at my food storage adventures! πŸ™‚ Hopefully you’ll get a good laugh too. πŸ™‚ Here’s the background story:

A good friend of mine sends me an email letting me know that a big truck is headed our way with tons of boxes of apples from Utah (a big treat for us Texan gals) and do I want to get in on the action? She entices me with stories of her homemade applesauce, baked apple pies, and so of COURSE I say YES! (Who says no to homemade apple pie?!) Then I realize I have a few obstacles in the way between me and applesauce greatness.

Hurdle #1: Budget. We’re on a tight one. Let’s just say we’re in the “We’re thankful we already have our food storage supply because we’re frequently relying on it to save our grocery bills” phase of life and not the “stocking/re-stocking” phase of life. But we manage to overcome this hurdle and move on to…

Hurdle #2: I have never made homemade applesauce before, I have never had an entire box of apples staring at me in the kitchen before, and the thought of watching them sit on my counter and rot because I’m too scared to do this on my own has me terrified. (Can you tell I’m not much of a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ and ‘just wing it’ type of gal??) But after watching some online how-to videos and reassurances from friends that they will hold my hand, I overcome this fear, get TWO boxes of apples (I’m feeling brave), and then discover…

Hurdle #3: The applesauce DRAMA! So okay. My good friend has a super cool little applesauce making gadget she let me borrow (see above) that is supposed to save you the trouble of having to peel, core, and slice all your apples. Instead, you just cut your apples into ΒΌths, cook them until soft, and then process them through this gadget, which pushes the pulp of the apples through the holes in the strainer type funnel and moves the seeds, stems, and skin through to the end to be dumped out. Super cool gadget… if I could get it to work right. Oh my heavens. You would not believe the amount of issues I had. The gizzmo has a clamp on the bottom of it that will only screw in so far, so you have to make sure your work surface is thick enough to get a tight fit. Well, my table wasn’t thick enough, my counter didn’t have a wide enough lip, which left me the breakfast bar counter… which was barely thick enough, but it’s tall and I’m short. Ugh. So now a chair enters the picture, and I’m getting up and down off this chair (did I mention I’m pregnant?), going back and forth between trying to add apples to the funnel area, then back up onto the chair to push them down, then down off the chair to get a good crank on the processor, back up to push the apples down some more, oh wait… they’re getting jammed… I need to plunge the stick through there to get the peels moving again, back down to crank again… all the while, I’m battling trying to keep the thing from sliding around on the countertop and trying keep the collecting tray in place (I couldn’t get it screwed on tight enough for it to stay on its own)… and four hours later I have a whopping 5 quart jars processed. If I were the swearing type, there would have been a string from here to Japan that would have made a sailor blush. Okay, okay… maybe not THAT bad. But I was worn out, on the verge of tears (again… pregnant), still had 1 and 2/3 boxes of apples staring at me, and I had already sent a text to Hubby telling him to hide the guns. πŸ™‚ I was done. {In fairness to my friend’s gizzmo, had I been strong enough to secure it in place properly, it probably would have worked pretty darn well. So all this pain and suffering was due to user error. Just so ya know. :)}

Saving Grace #1: Then I remember a gadget I had seen in one of the how-to videos that does the peeling/coring/slicing of apples for you. (I had done an internet search at the time and new they carried these peelers online in several locations but that they actually had them in the store at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. So that’s in the back of my head.) I realize that if I get that peeler, I can just peel/slice/core all my apples, then cook them, and then they’re all ready to be mashed/pureed into applesauce. And then I wouldn’t have to fight with the applesauce maker!!

Saving Grace #2: So Hubby comes home from work, sees me in my pitiful plight, (and no… no dinner is made), makes dinner without complaint, and then takes our girls to his scouting activity with him (he’s a scoutmaster) so that I can go to the store and purchase my peeler tool without dealing with children. Did I mention that I love this man??!

So with apple peeler/corer/slicer in hand, I come home, give it a test run, do a little adjusting to get the right peeling depth, and Ta-Da!! Within about 5 minutes, I have 10 apples cored, peeled, and sliced!! (*The heavens open and angels are singing!*)Β Of course, there was no way I was starting up more batches that late at night, so I simply zipped those apples up in a baggie and saved them for today to start another applesauce making adventure.

Well, Day 2 has been a better adventure for me. There has not been any real drama to speak of, no tears, no swearing, but the time intensity is still definitely a factor. This time the work is on the front end of the cooking as opposed to the back end, and occasionally the peeler thingamajigger has difficulty with an apple (usually the ones where the core is caddywhampus) and I have had to break out the parring knife to manually peel a few apples, but it’s easy, manageable, and I am having fun doing it. I feel like I’m back in the 50’s when people spent all day in the kitchen canning their produce to put up for the winter. πŸ™‚
And just for the record, I did two batches today and the first batch took a lot longer than the second batch did. There was definitely a learning curve factor. I have a feeling next time I attempt something like this, I’ll be even faster and more effecient. πŸ™‚Β But I do have to say, this re-enforces to me why meat is one of my favorite things to can. It is SO much easier than this! πŸ™‚ But I’ve snuck a taste of the applesauce every here and there and am thoroughly enjoying the taste of this homemade treat, which, again, reminds me why we go to all this work in the first place. πŸ™‚ Yea for homemade applesauce! πŸ™‚

So anyway, stay tuned for the step by step ‘how to’ for canning applesauce, and good luck in all your preparedness efforts!

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3 thoughts on “Making Applesauce: The Saucy Drama

  1. AJ says:

    I grew up using one of those apple sauce maker things (I actually have it now. And it still works great!) and it definitely does have some issues. For a long time, I couldn’t even stand the taste of store bought apple sauce (the same thing with canned peaches). It definitely is so much better home made. Now I just wish I had access to a huge load of apples so I could make my own again.

    And another funny story with the masher thing. My sisters and I were mashing pumpkin with it. We had a huge bowl full and were probably almost done. Then the stool that the bowl was sitting on got bumped and the pumpkin splashed out EVERYWHERE. Like from the ceiling to the floor. We found it in crevices and corners on the walls months later. My parents were out of town at the time and I don’t think they knew about it until a long time later.

    Like

  2. Debbie says:

    AJ, I love reading your comments. Your pumpkin story had me laughing. It’s refreshing to know I’m not the only one who deals with this kind of drama. πŸ™‚ (Not that I WANT other people to suffer…) πŸ™‚

    Like

  3. Amme says:

    Again, I feel so badly it didn’t work well for you and that I didn’t put my non slip thing in the box. I should have just delivered it all to you and then I could show you how it works. So proud of you for trying! Hey, I’ll do your applesauce if you do my meat!

    Like

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