Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Strawberry Applesauce Cook-a-long

Ingredients: Apples... I have found that it entirely depends on how big the apples are, what the bag needs to weigh to fill the 8 quart pot. For me this was 11lbs worth of tiny apples that had fallen off my dads tree (first batch). 12oz of juice concentrate. Always use 100% juice concentrate. I have used cherry/apple, apple, and apple/strawberry (which I can not find this year) with great success.
Strawberries... In fact about three cups of any kind of berries will do. I have made Marionberry/blackberry, blueberry/blackberry, cherry, strawberry, and I even tried my hand at grape one day (it was much sweeter with the grape juice) and all have turned out great!

OK... so we have 3 cups of berries, apples to fill an 8 quart pot, and 12 oz of juice concentrate. So start first things first... how to chop an apple quickly. I don't like milling out seeds. So I chop my apples to leave the core behind, like this:

The only thing you have to remember is the near halves of apples will not cook quickly (the more skin, the slower it will cook), so you have to cut that in half one more time.

Adding them to the pot.

I told you these were LITTLE apples.

When you get a full pot; start the burner on.

You will hear them start to sizzle at the bottom. Add the juice concentrate (frozen or not, doesn't matter) along with ONE 12oz can of water. This helps the apples not stick to the bottom of the pot and starts the "steaming/cooking" process.

When the apples are about half way cooked, then you add the berries (again, frozen or thawed, doesn't matter. They still have about 10 minutes to cook).

Now comes the milling. I have found that the easiest way to mill apples is to have two pots. Take laddlefulls out of the full pot and put them into the mill on top of the other pot. (This pot can be smaller as this is only going to produce 6 qts of applesauce in the end.)

Cyan decided she needed to do this part. If you cook the apples enough there is VERY little waste. (I think I got just over a cup of skins)This is the point where the taste testing is important. Call you friends and neighbors over to see if the applesauce will pass mustard. If you need a little sugar, add a little sugar. Most of the time I have found that the juice concentrate is the only sweeter we need, but with some of the varieties (like the cherry) I added 1/4 cup of sugar to the mix before canning and that brought out the 'cherry' much better than before, but added VERY little sweetness... just have fun with this part.

But becareful... it doesn't seem like it, but 1/2 a cup of sugar in this mix has been TOO much. So add slowly and taste often.

And here is the finished product. This batch passed unaltered...