Friday, October 28, 2011

A plug for Homemade Applesauce - and a bit of Zucchini Advice

I think the smell of cooking apples is the epitome of fall. I spent this week making applesauce - pretty easy and VERY yummy. (And a great, cheap first food for babies. My kids' first solid food experiences involved hefty amounts of instant oatmeal mixed with homemade applesauce.)
Apples are plentiful in the fall. Even if you don't own an apple tree, chances are you know someone who does, and is willing to share if you pick. Craigslist and the classifieds are also good places to look. Many people will offer apples for free to those who will come pick.
Applesauce can be made a variety of ways and with a variety of flavors. I keep it simple - no spices, maybe a bit of sugar if needed; it can always be spiced later.
Making applesauce doesn't require any major equipment at all - just peel, core, cook the apples, mash them and freeze.
I bottle my sauce. Since I make it in quantity, I use a Victorio strainer. It is an ingenious pioneer contraption. I quarter the apples, cook them, and them run them through the strainer, and the strainer pushes sauce through a sieve while sending the peels, seeds and stems out another side. I lucked out and found an ancient one at a second hand store for a couple of dollars. They can also be bought (see Amazon) for a bit of an investment (but worth it if you make a lot). No peeling or coring!
 Applesauce can then be spiced or sweetened if you choose, put in jars and processed in a water bath canner.
Some good instructions and pictures of the whole process can be found here.

And now for a zucchini tidbit: I learned the hard way that zucchini peels should not be frozen. If you want to grate and freeze zucchini for use in breads and soups all year, PEEL it first. Zucchini and yellow summer squash freeze well for year-round use. Just peel, grate, and freeze in ziploc bags of a cup or two. I left the peels on one year, and they NEVER soften. We had zucchini bread with horribly hard crunchy peels. I also tried it in quiche - and ruined the quiche. Of course, maybe I'm the only one who doesn't know this. I mentioned my experience once in a group of women, and got "the look" from all of them, which meant, "You're kidding that you didn't know that, right?"

1 comment:

  1. Lorae, I was just using your book, (like I do every single week) and wanted to let you know how much I LOVE it! Awesome simple, budget friendly recipes that my family loves. Thank you so much for creating an awesome resource!