This is the time of year when change shows itself in radiant beauty. The fall colors range from stunning oranges, reds and yellows to dull, dark greens and maroons. The variety is astoundingly endless, love it! You could say the same thing about the apple crop we get. Yellow, red, red and green, crisp, sweet, tart, take your pick and take your taste buds with you. Jonagold, Mutzu, Red Delicious, Liberty, 20 oz Pippen, Fuji, Newton, Granny Smith and that’s just for starters. As with the colors of the leaves, the variety of apples is amazing, be it their color, shape, size, taste or texture.
If you truly want to enjoy the “apple experience”, forgo the store and head out to the farmers markets or the farmer. I have a friend, who is a farmer, that I get apples from. Every year he seems to come up with one I have never heard of or seen, much less tasted. He knows them all like the back of his hand. Some he only has a couple of grafted branches of, but they have been around since his grandfathers time which considering his place is a Century Farm, has been a while. Other may be new/old varieties he experiments with, bottom line they are all really good.
I get the “seconds” along with the “good” ones. Once again, “pretty” produce is going to cost you more and those blemishes don’t turn up in apple sauce, butter, juice, pie or your taste buds. For ten bucks, I get a huge box that might have some inconsequential, to me, spot, scab,bug, blemish, blah blah blah. I’m far more interested about the inside since most of the time they get peeled and cored. If whatever it is on the outside continues on the inside, you’re going to see it and dispense with it no matter what.
Any who, I got this new toy called a steamer/juicer. This thing is sooooooooo cool! Ok, color me weird, but I think kitchen gadget stuff is cool. If it makes my life easier or saves time, I’m there. This gadget will not only produce juice, but the “pulp” becomes your apple sauce. The top is where you put your apples, the middle compartment catches the juice from the top and the bottom is your boiling water to produce the steam.
A very simple concept that can garner you upwards of a gallon of pure, wonderful juice which you can freeze (if it lasts that long) or can and 4-6 quarts of applesauce (freeze or can), depending on the type of apples used. I like to mix and match,as the flavors and textures of the different apples blend together to create wonderful results. In a pretty short amount of time, about an hour, you can go from apples to juice/pulp. The juicer gets really hot and stays that way, so you have to pay attention and be careful when you’re ready to harvest your juice. With the help of another nifty gadget, see below, you can have applesauce basically ready to serve in the next half an hour including clean up (if you really hustle, are running late, double booked, have time management issues, hummm).
A Kitchen Aid Mixer with a food mill attachment is the other nifty gadget.
I got lucky and inherited the full meal deal attachment bonanza several years ago, sans the instruction book. They have been sitting, patiently waiting for me to take the time to figure out how to use them ever since. I had my AHA! moment a few months back (duh, if you have the tools, learn to use them). Thanks to YouTube, I have now mastered the previously unknown assembly issues. (So that’s how that works—-awesome!) From that lovely pile of mush left in the steamer basket, you will create applesauce, and lots of it, believe it or not. A little cinnamon, some nutmeg maybe, sugars (brown makes it really rich tasting, alone or mixed with white), flavor to taste. You might need to add back some juice depending on the consistency you like.
Notice the difference in the amount of sauce in the blue pan in the two pictures. I ran the pulp through at least three times and that was all the pulp I had left at the end from the original amount of raw apples. Pretty significant. Looks fairly disgusting, but the chickens love it. I mentioned how much more I could get out of the pulp to an acquaintance the other day and she said “You use the pulp?” She has been throwing it away, probably to her chickens but none the less, look at all the food she didn’t save!
I also have a manual food mill(s), which works just as well, makes a great sound, but takes a little more time. And lets’ not forget the apple/peeler/corer and the apple slicer.
See, gadget city, here I am. I am also guilty of Appliance Envy, but that’s another story!