My Little Man LOVES fruit. I mean the child is obsessed. I literally have to hide fruit until he has finished eating everything else I want him to eat and then bring out the fruit. I also have to sneak fruit into our cart out of his sight at the grocery store or he'll throw a fit. Obsessed, I'm telling you.
With his love of fruit also comes a love of applesauce. Normally I buy huge jars of unsweetened applesauce and it that jar might last a week. Thank God that store brand applesauce is not expensive. It is processed though, even the unsweetened variety. I'm always looking for healthier foods for our family (especially Little Man). Well, I found a great deal on apples this weekend so I bought 9lbs and made some applesauce last night. Then I canned it.
I have fallen in love with canning. Do you can? If not, you should give it a try. It's easy & can save your family lots of money while providing delicious, healthier foods. I want to show you just how easy canning is. A winter lesson on canning - ha! Can you tell I'm itching for some warmer weather? :)
Step 1: Buy this book. I call it my canning Bible. It's awesome & inexpensive. It's also pretty timeless, so it should be good forever.
Step 2: That book will tell you to buy (or borrow) these basic products...I'm sure all of this can be found at your local Wal-Mart
-Boiling Water Bath canner (similar to this one)
-Mason Jars with rings & new seals (I bet if you ask around, you'll find lots of people with mason jars they want to get rid of)
-Wide-mouth Funnel (like this)
-Jar Lifter (like this)
Step 3: Follow the instructions in the book. I would love to tell you exactly how to can, but the process really depends on what you're canning. It's not hard - I promise.
I used the instructions in that book to make Little Man's applesauce. Here's what I did...
Gather lots of apples...I like to use 3 different varieties & at least one of those need to be Granny Smith. The others don't really matter, but I never use more than one type of red apple.
Wash the apples because they are yucky & usually coated in wax or food-grade shellac. Disturbing. Don't worry...you're going to peel them. But think twice before you eat the peel of an apple again.
Pull out the Peeler-Corer-Slicer that your grandmother gave you (or take a million hours to do this process by hand...your choice).
Put the slices in a big pot with some water, but not much because apples are like 67% water anyway. Turn on the heat to medium-high. Stir frequently getting the top apples to the bottom.
See how they are starting to turn brown...yuck! I sprinkled some of that "fruit saver" stuff on top. Not much, but enough to stop that color change.
While your apples are cooking down, gather up your old friends...
These were so handy when I was living in Canning-ville this summer. While residing in Canning-ville, I produced the following:
Bread & Butter Pickles: 15 pints
Kosher Dill Pickles: 14 pints
Kosher Dill Pickles: 14 pints
Okra Pickles: 4 pints
Salsa: 16 pints, 13 half-pints
Pasta Sauce: 1 quart, 32 pints, 1 half-pint
Pizza Sauce: 10 half-pints
Chili Base: 19 pints, 1 half-pint
Green Beans: 23 Quarts
We have been enjoying these throughout the winter. All the hard work & late nights were definitely worth it!
Oh Canning-ville how I miss you, your fresh fruits & veggies, and most importantly your warm temperatures. Please return soon!
Ok...back to the present. Now prepare your jars, lids, & new seals. Basically you put them in hot water (but not boiling) until you're ready to put your applesauce in them. (Sorry there are no pictures for these next few steps - You have to work quickly & hubs wasn't home to help take them while I worked)
I pureed the cooked apples in my food processor, then returned the puree to the pot & brought to a boil. This is where I burned myself BIG TIME. Ouch - be careful with boiling applesauce.
Put your applesauce in your jars. Put the seals & rings on the jars. Put sealed jars in your boiling water bath canner & process for 20 minutes. Remove jars & let them sit for a while (like until the next morning) until the jars seal. You'll hear a pop - it's a great sound because that means it worked!
Here's your finished product...a beautiful quart of applesauce!
Well, actually three beautiful quarts of applesauce and a big bowl full leftover. It takes 2.5-3.5lbs of apples to make one quart of applesauce, which may seem like a lot of apples for not a ton of sauce. But I promise, it's worth it! Notice I added no sugar and it is delicious!
I really wanted to make fruit leather, but I didn't have parchment paper on hand & I was afraid to try it without.