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 I can’t believe how fast summer has gone by.  For me it involved extreme pain, and deep tissue massage therapy on my left shoulder and arm.  In fact, I’m still in pain, and still getting deep tissue massages every week.  Oh, and did I mention I’m left-handed?  It’s been a bizarre injury considering I have NO clue what I did.  I’m only telling you this in hopes of being redeemed for ignoring taking a leave of absence from my blog.  I have really missed this place.  I’m hoping this delicious Homemade Applesauce recipe will make up for my time away.

We recently did our annual homemade applesauce and apple butter making.  We did it a little different this year – we went to our local cannery to take advantage of the enormous steam pots and super-sized food mill.  It was so much easier taking advantage of the facilities there.  Megan and Joshua went along to help out.  They are awesome like that!  Joshua did the grunt work (since I wasn’t able), and Megan kept her camera rolling.  We have lots of pictures for this post.

We really had a good time together even though we were only at the cannery for an hour and a half – at the most.  We cooked the apples in one batch and then ran it through the mill.  We cleaned up our mess, which only consisted of a paddle (for stirring), 3 pans, and a pot used for dipping the cooked apples into the hopper of the mill.  Joshua used the provided water hose and super-sized scrub brush and cleaned the steaming pots.  We used two pots – one with apples for applesauce and the other with ? for apple butter.  I’m saving the latter for the next post.  So, check back.

The night before we cut and cored the apples.  This little apple corer/slicer gadget really speeds things up.  We had a cooler with lightly salted water ready for the apples to go into to.  We just threw them into the cooler after each apple was cut.  When we were finished here we drained the salt water from the coolers and left the apples. When you go to the cannery they want everything prepped in advance in order to keep things moving along.  This helps if the cannery is really busy and people are waiting. We put the coolers in a cool place overnight.  We put ours in our walk-in cooler, but a cool basement or porch would work.

Here is one of the big steam pots full of apples… it holds five bushels at a time.

The apples steamed so quick in these pots once they got good and heated.  We stirred them several times during the cooking process.  You want to cook them until they are soft.

The steamed apples are now ready to be run through the food mill.

Here Joshua is dipping out and draining the apples from the cooker.  They create a lot of juice.

Here the dipped apples go into a pan waiting to be run through the food mill.

The cart of cooked apples and YES, that is a pan of cooked apple cores on the bottom shelf.  I promise I will explain that in my apple butter post.

The apples being dipped into the  hopper of the food mill.

And here is the yummy applesauce after going through the mill.  The bucket on the left is catching all of the apple peels.  When doing it this way it’s not necessary to peel the apples first.  I don’t add juice with the apples when running them through because we prefer our applesauce on the thicker side.  Runny applesauce has never been my thing.  If you, on the other-hand happen to like runny applesauce – add some juice along with the apples.

We filled up five 5 gallons bucket with sauce.  This is where, if needed, you add sugar to sweeten the applesauce.  I use Golden Delicious apples which have a tendency to already be very sweet.  You can add sugar and sweeten to your personal taste

We took the apples home and finished processing them there.  We filled clean, heated quart jars with the sauce and then processed them in a boiling-water canner for 20 minutes.  You do this for pints or quarts.

This is the light at the end of the tunnel…

…the payoff for all the hard work.

Nothing beats going to your own pantry and pulling out beautifully preserved homemade applesauce…unless, of course,  it’s beautifully preserved homemade apple butter.

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There’s really no set recipe for making  homemade applesauce.  You just need apples and sugar (if needed).  You can make enough for a meal or enough to can and last through the year.   While we enjoyed making ours at the cannery this year – I have made mine in my own kitchen for many years.  Regardless of where you make it or how much you make – it’ll be great.  

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