Last month we were pretty hard-up and did the unthinkable...
We had to buy "applesauce" from the store. And what is worse...we were actually eating it!
Yes, we don't put much stock in the nondescript, store-bought, beige colored substances that loosely resemble applesauce :-). But this family REALLY likes applesauce and our homemade supply from 2 years ago was exhausted.
Needless to say, we were REALLY looking forward to apple season this year!
Our all-time favorite apples for eating or applesauce is the Honeycrisp variety. The name is a perfect description.
Once again, this year we were able to purchase an entire orchard bin (600-800 pounds) of blemished Honeycrisps for a ridiculous price ($150 this year). So we were golden--or actually our applesauce was!
We're in business! Now it's time to churn out some of the most delicious lip-smackin' applesauce you ever did put your teeth into!
Good Apples - When you start with good apples, it doesn't take much to turn out delicious applesauce. But if your apples are bland or of poor quality, it's going to take more work and additional ingredients to get it tasty.
Victorio Strainer* - This marvelous non-electric appliance is a life-saver! You can turn out a serious amount of applesauce in no time when using it. The Victorio Strainer makes peeling and coring unnecessary, since the strainer removes all the undesirables. Just chop your apples into 1/4's or 1/8's and cook them. Then dump them in the Victorio and turn the crank. Voila--you have applesauce. And get this...they even have kits with an electric motor* so you don't have to use the hand crank.
Lemon Juice & Sweetener - If your apples are good, it is possible to make applesauce without any added ingredients, especially if you are freezing it. But if you are canning it like we do, it's likely going to turn a rather dark color. So we add 2 T. of Lemon Juice to each quart of applesauce. This keeps it looking nice and fresh and also adds a little additional acidity for safety. In order to offset the tanginess of the Lemon Juice, we also add around 1 T. of organic Raw Cane Sugar. If desired, you could probably use your favorite sweetener of choice, but be sure to experiment with a small quantity first.
Reusable Canning Lids - If you do a lot of canning, buying a bunch of lids each year gets old. So we purchased a bunch of reusable canning lids and have been very happy with them. The company that made ours is out of business, but the old standby is still going strong--Tattler Canning Lids. You can get them by the dozen*, or you can save a bunch of money and get 12 dozen of them* for a great price.
Don't Forget To Freeze - While we don't think it's a good idea to use freezing as a primary food storage method, it sure is nice to have some things frozen! So before we are done, we'll probably freeze some applesauce, since there's sometimes I really get a hankering for frozen applesauce. And the added perk is that freezing applesauce requires less work than canning.
This depends on how many people are helping and how diligently you work. Even if working by herself, Lisa can usually handle over 100 pounds of apples in a day--with 2 kids in tow.
So we figure on a few days of work in order to get a goodly supply of applesauce put up--for the next year or two. Not bad!
And oh, how delicious!
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Okay, I’m a granola guy.
No, not in the cultural sense. But I really like to eat granola for breakfast. I could eat it for breakfast 300 days a year.
For years, Lisa has worked to dial in a granola recipe that we all really like. And she has nailed it!
Here it is… Continue reading
Hash browns have always been one of my favorites… but I could never get my homemade ones to turn out right. They were usually always too gummy which would mean that I’d end up burning them. So out of desperation, I’d spend a lot of time carefully cutting them up into as small of chunks as I could and frying them up that way. It worked, sorta. But it still wasn’t hash browns.
Until one day I learned the secret: rinsing the shredded potatoes. So I tried it, and in no time at all I had the most mouth-watering, perfectly browned hash browns. Continue reading
I'm not the greatest cook... honestly, when I first got married my poor husband put up with quite a bit of terrible food. But learning how to make very tasty, healthy home cooking became a passion of mine. Pancakes were no exception. I wanted pancakes... and not just any pancakes; I wanted mouth-watering pancakes that my family would beg for. You know, the kind that are BETTER than the ones at the restaurant. And that's exactly what I found...
We've been up to our elbows (literally) in salsa lately. Our family really likes homemade salsa, maybe we have some Mexican roots somewhere in our genealogy. Except one problem - we can't take the heat. So no hot peppers. Forget the Mexican roots - I guess it's probably not there.
This last week I decided to tackle the large question about my food storage. Since Nick and I were married we keep visiting this question each year and stocking our pantry with the necessary items. Oats, Beans, Wheat, Rice, Salt, Honey, Dried fruit, Canned fruit, Canned veggies, Potatoes, Nuts, etc. But I started asking myself the question: Do I have enough food in my pantry to last me a year, till the next harvest? That's my end goal!
A wood cook stove is one of those indispensable tools on a homestead. Operating it is fairly straightforward, but many people seem to have difficulty with baking. I'll have to say though, after using one myself, I'd prefer cooking and baking on one! Seriously, you can taste the difference.
Nothing says 'Homestead' quite like a couple loaves of homemade bread baking in the oven. Know what I mean? Pull those loaves out of the oven, grab the bread knife and slice while you watch the steam rising.
So many people struggle to make a good loaf of bread. So I want to share some of my favorite recipes - ones I use all the time - to make it simple. Let me know which one is your favorite!