It’s that time of year again. Apples are in season, weather is getting a little cooler (kind of), and my preschooler begs to get out the applesauce making machine. I secretly love when my kids beg to do this! I’m pretty sure one of my favorite things about fall is making applesauce.
I started making my own applesauce only about five or six years ago, and you’ll probably never guess why. Are you curious? Ok I’ll tell you. Trust me, you might laugh.
My oldest child was about 2 years old and I had learned that you could enter crafts, art and foods in the Ephrata Fair. When I saw canned goods on the list, I just had to try it! I love trying new things! So I made and canned some applesauce, for the first time ever, and wouldn’t you know my jar won third place?!
Not only was I ecstatic that I had tried something new, but I won AND my winning earnings paid for the basket of apples that I had bought to make my entire batch of applesauce. Really, to say I was ecstatic, is even an understatement.
I borrowed my dads applesauce maker that year—and its a good one! The good old solid stainless steel kind with a wooden pestel and everything. The year after that, we received this Victorio Sauce Maker for Christmas. I was a little worried about the plastic, that it might not hold up very well, but it has held its weight in gold for us. It’s still kicking strong, five years later and we are loving it! We put it to good use too.
Because I love making applesauce with my kiddos so much, I wanted to show you how simple it can be, just in case you have never tried and want to try something new like I did too! Applesauce is a wonderful addition to pretty much any meal—in fact I know one family that cans their applesauce in half-gallon jars each year because they serve it at every meal!
I want to give you a heads up—this is SUPER SIMPLE—and I’m not kidding. Even though I’ve only been making applesauce for five years, I have found some ways to save time and money, making it incredibly simple and fun. Here are my tips:
1. Buy a Victorio Deluxe Food Strainer and Saucer. A Victorio Deluxe Food Strainer and Saucer is only about $50 and it is sooooooooo worth it! However, if you are on a really tight budget, you could also just use one of these or one of these.
2. Buy a discount basket of apples at a road side stand. (Reiff’s often has them for $5), or a discount grocery store (Glennwood regularly has them for $8.95). You don’t need the best apples to make applesauce—in other words they don’t all need to be pretty looking. I have found that Jonna Gold apples (yellow) are very soft and sweet. They take less time to boil and soften and go through the strainer much easier and faster.
3. If the apples are big (or a harder variety), cut them in quarters. This will minimize the time needed to soften the apples in boiling water. I try to save time and steps here by buying the softest apples and not cutting them unless I really need to. (I have even put whole apples, when they are really soft, into the boiling water and then into the Victorio.) I’m sure some people wouldn’t agree with this step, but it has worked for us.
4. Let your kids do the work for you! It might be debatable by some as to whether or not this is a time-saver, but I figure if I can be doing something else (like boiling the apples) while they are cranking the wheel, then I’m getting more done than I could by myself. My kids love to take turns cranking the handle, pushing down the apples, emptying the inside of the strainer (we call it getting the gunk out), and switching the bowls that catch the good applesauce.
Some people say that you can only use certain apples for applesauce. I’m not a picky applesauce eater, so I have always been fine with whatever apples I am able to find. This year we were given some apples from a tree that isn’t known to be a good apple for applesauce. I tasted it and it was fine for me. However, after I tasted some of the applesauce from the Jonna Gold apples, I noticed an immediate sweeter taste.
I ended up mixing the batches together this year to make the first (darker) batch sweeter with the Jonna Gold (lighter) batch. The result was delicious! Ready to freeze!! By the way, if you haven’t tried eating frozen applesauce—slightly thawed, you’re missing out!
If you’re thinking of making applesauce with your family this fall, here’s one more idea for you. Consider making an entire weekend of it! Head out to a local orchard to pick your own apples, be sure to check this Lancaster County Pick Your Own Apples Map and Pricing Guide to find the best option for your family, and then make some applesauce together! Remember to take pictures and save a jar to enter in your local fair—you might just win first place and earn enough to pay for your apples!
What applesauce making tips do you have? Be sure to share in the comments below!