Updated: Aug 27
The day before yesterday the kids were over to help get apples that have been falling from the trees. It is hard to believe that the harvest season is here and with that time, comes lots of work for winters food storage. Last year our trees didn't have many apples, so it is very exciting to get them this year and put them into storage by using different preserving methods.
After the wagonful was collected I spent the evening sorting. They were washed and sorted according to condition. The Animals got the ones that were too bruised or unusable. There was a bucket that was the best and minimal bruising or bad spots which would be used for applesauce and the third bucket went to cider. These had spots and bruises that will get cut out when we press.
While I worked at getting the summer kitchen cleared and organized for the big project, Kenny worked to get out the cider making equipment and make some added tweaks that would make his homemade cider press work even better.
The next morning, we had the kids come help and watch the process, but other than mashing and squeezing the apples the work is in the apple collection. The reward of the beautiful fresh cider is sooo yummy!
Next, we went into the house for the next processing.... applesauce. Applesauce is so easy to make and preserve and is a frequently used staple at our house. It is a big project with many apples. This means bringing out 2 of my most treasured tools! The squeezo strainer and my all American canner for the most efficient process.
It takes a lot of big pots and space when you are working in a large amount, but then you're done, and it is only 1 clean up. I first cooked the apple in an electric oven and large stockpot. I don't need to core or peel when using the squeezo strainer. I use just a little water to keep them from sticking until their juice starts to release. Cook them until they are soft, then through the squeezo strainer they go to be milled. If you don't have a squeezo strainer you can use a hand food mill or cook them peeled and cored and just mash them in a pot. The squeezo-strainer or food mill will separate the core and peeling from the cooked apple mush, leaving just a little dry waste of the skins and cores and your perfect applesauce. After jarring and processing for 8 minutes, they are ready for winter eating.
Next project is to take the pressed apple from the cider press and make apple cider vinegar for the pantry.