Fall in the mountains of western North Carolina always means a trip to a nearby apple orchard. My husband and I travel to our favorite orchard in a nearby county where we view and sample the varieties offered.
We almost always drift back to our favorites--Mutsu for cooking and Pink Ladies for eating. The Pink Lady variety is not quite ready yet, but the Mutsu apples are abundant.
After visiting the orchard, we set aside a day each fall to make and can applesauce. Our first step is to wash the apples. Then we core, peel, and cut the apples into pieces that will help the cooking process go more quickly.
Adding a small amount of water, we cook and stir for a while until the apples break down, soon resembling applesauce. We could stop the cooking at this point if we wanted chunky applesauce, but we usually cook it down until we have a smoother texture.
Normally, after taking the applesauce off the stove, we spend some time using a potato masher, continuing to break up the last bits of apple. However, this year my husband had an idea. He said, "Why not use the immersion blender to break up the apples and get the desired texture?" What a great idea! And it worked perfectly!! In only a few seconds using the immersion blender, we had exactly the texture we prefer. It does pay to be careful when using the immersion blender, however, since just a few seconds too long might result in the texture of baby food.
Now that the applesauce is finished, it's time to begin the canning process. With clean and sterilized jars, lids, and rings, we use a funnel to fill the jars. It's important to keep the edges of the jars free of any drips of applesauce and to tighten the lids and rings as much as possible.
Our pressure canner will hold seven pint jars at a time, so we fill the canner with the jars and begin the process of canning. It only takes a few minutes in the canner to seal those lids.
We repeat this canning process several times until we have 28 pints of applesauce! It has taken a bushel of those Mutsu apples and a whole day, but it is rewarding to look at all those jars of applesauce cooling on our kitchen counter. Applesauce, anyone?
Linked with: Marilyn's Treats