One hundred and eleven apples.
That is how many apples were recently massacred in a medium-sized town in the desert, and turned into applesauce. One hundred and eleven apples.
It would have been one hundred and twelve, but one of the apples was bad. One bad apple out of one hundred and twelve. That’s a 99.1% apple success rate.
It all started when a friend called me up the other day and suggested that we make applesauce. I like apple sauce, I’ve been using it a lot recently in baking, and I love a nice warm bowl of applesauce when the weather is cool. I decided that the applesauce sounded like a good idea, and agreed to join in on some apple festivities.
Little did I know that when my friend said “make some applesauce,” she really meant “make 51 cups worth of apple sauce.” (Well, actually probably more like 60 cups, but more on that later.)
I arrived at my friend’s house to find one hundred and twelve lovely organic Costco apples. She reassured me that we didn’t have to make them all into applesauce. In fact, she wanted to keep one flat of apples (14 apples) for her and her husband to eat throughout the next two weeks. I accepted that, and we began the process. (It turns out that she was a big liar. We used ALL of the apples.)
First, we washed the apples. Then, we peeled the apples. I, unfortunately, seem to be a klutz with the apple peeler, and could not remove any skin from the apple. I decided to try just doing it with a knife, and that went even worse. In the end, I peeled zero apples, and my friend peeled one hundred and eleven apples.
She was very good at it and wins the award for most apples peeled by hand in one day, within my presence.
I on the other hand became an expert at slicing the apples into quarters and cutting out the core. I’ve had a lot of practice with this, seeing as how I eat apples almost every day, and usually slice and core them ahead of time for easy snacking.
I got so good at this. I’m thinking of going pro.
Next, we put the apples in a pot with a little bit of water, brought it to a boil, and then let them simmer for a long while. Somehow, magically, the apples turned from looking like this:
To looking like this:
We did very little to help the apples turn into applesauce. There were no mashers involved, no blenders, no food processors. We did use a whisk to mix the apples,and that helped them to mush up a bit. But really, in the grand scheme of things, once we finished peeling and cutting and coring, the apples did all the hard work themselves.
Though…when I studied one of my photographs…I am inclined to think that there was some sort of applesauce ghost involved in the process. Look!
Do you see right there in the middle of the boiling apple steam? I think that is The Ghost of Applesauce Past, Present, and Future. I think the Applesauce Ghost helped to mush the solid apples into post-dental-work friendly applesauce!
Since we were making eighteen thousand pounds of applesauce, we decided to can it instead of just freezing it. (Which is a good thing because my freezer is already full of homemade food!) This was my first canning experience, but my friend had done it once before.
The jars are so cute. I felt like I was ready to go build a house out on the prairie, with all the wholesomeness of cutting apples by hand, boiling them, and then canning them. I hope we did it correctly, otherwise we’ll soon have 51 cups of poisonous applesauce.
We did pretty well considering this was our first experience with mass-produced apple sauce. I made applesauce when I was little with my grandparents, but I don’t think we ever made nearly this much. Aside from that, we always just froze it, which removes the time-consuming step of boiling the jars.
Despite our success, we did have one small failure. Or, not a failure so much as a roadblock to complete success.
One pot of applesauce did not survive. Even after a good soaking and scrubbing, the pot still had a massive scar. The entire contents of the pot got thrown away. Had this pot not suffered a severe burning, we probably would have had about 60 cups of applesauce altogether, in the end. But, the loss of a few cups of applesauce in contrast with the overwhelming success of the remaining cups isn’t a huge disappointment. We still had plenty of applesauce.
Rows and rows of applesauce.
Jars and jars of applesauce.
So much applesauce.