Apples Galore!

apples

Apple pies, apple cakes, apple crumble; yep, it’s apple season!

Take a drive through the Annapolis Valley and you’ll find farming communities shaped by a century of apple growing. It’s October and right now farmer’s markets and roadside stands boast bushels of apples, the red, green and yellow fruit piled high in their crates. Some with glossy skins that reflect the sunlight, while others hide their juiciness under a dull russeted coat. Gravenstein and McIntosh are familiar names, but there are in fact over 40 varieties grown in Nova Scotia with tantalizing names, such as Strawberry Pippin, Ozark Gold and Winter Banana, that pull you in for a closer look.

But there’s only so many pies a person can eat, so what’s to be done with all that fruity bounty? If you buy direct from the farm or you’re lucky to have trees that bear show-worthy specimens then store with care in a cool, dry place. But, what if your trees are like ours, with fruit that is far from picture perfect and not suitable for winter storage? Why applesauce of course!

canned apple sauce

Applesauce – jars of golden sweetness!

Last year I scored a pressure canner at a yard sale. It was tucked under the table and I almost missed it as I struggled to keep up with my husband and sons. When I heard the price of $5, I grabbed it from the floor before the lady could change her mind.pressure canner apple sauce

With the control that a pressure canner allows, with its nifty little gauge showing accurately what’s going on, I’ve been bottling everything from salsa, to leek and potato soup, to bone broth. You could say the sky’s the limit but really it has more to do with the number of shelves in my kitchen. This week it was apple sauce, which I like to add to cakes, cookies, and brownies to give a nice moist texture.

I have no idea what type of apples we have on our land, they were planted long ago, their names forgotten when the farmer moved away. But we’ve discovered the qualities of each tree, and we’ve learnt that a random mix makes the best sauce and apple cider; a sweet taste with a hint of tartness to please the taste buds.

bucket of apples

After gathering up the apples, the longest part is all the peeling and chopping.  I find the perfect antidote to a few hours in the kitchen is laughing at the pigs as they happily tuck into a bucket of peelings and scraggy apples that didn’t quite make the grade. Watching them wrestle with each other over the last few pieces is a great end to the day; nothing is ever wasted on a homestead with animals!

Berkshire pigs eating apples

The pigs ensure that nothing is ever wasted on a farm.

Making Apple Sauce

Peel and slice apples. Add enough water to prevent sticking and cook gently over a low heat. cooking apple sauceStir occasionally to prevent burning, and cook until soft. Press through a sieve for a smooth sauce or skip this step if you prefer the sauce to be chunky.

Cooking Apple sauceReheat the sauce to boiling and fill prepared jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process according to the charts taken from National Centre For Home Food Preservation.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Applesauce in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Quart Size 0 – 1,000 ft 1,001 – 3,000 ft 3,001 – 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints 15 min 20 20 25
Quarts 20 25 30 35
Table 2.Process Times for Applesauce in a Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner.
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 – 2,000 ft 2,001 – 4,000 ft 4,001 – 6,000 ft 6,001 – 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 8 6 lb 7 lb 8 lb 9 lb
Quarts 10 6 7 8 9
Table 3. Process Times for Applesauce in a Weighted-Gauge Pressure Canner.
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (Min) 0 – 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 8 5 lb 10 lb
Quarts 10 5 10
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About Jane Fowler

We are working towards a sustainable lifestyle, homeschooling our children, growing all our own food and creating art. Join us in our journey, learning with us along the way.
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One Response to Apples Galore!

  1. chefkreso says:

    Very nice post!

    Like

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