Using Wild Apples
If you have an abundance of wild apples available, check out my post How to Use Wild Apples for more ideas on how to use them. I’ve been busy for the last few days turning a feed bag full of wild apples into apple sauce. Our neighbors gave me a call and asked if I’d like some apples. They have several trees that they don’t spray. Most of the apples are either eaten fresh, if they look good, or their horses and dogs eat them. Yes, their dogs are little apple hounds. 🙂
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So I grabbed my handy fruit picker, some boxes and feed bags and headed over to harvest. There were so many apples that I really couldn’t pick and use them all right away, but I loaded up plenty of wormy fruit for the chickens and ducks, and plenty of nice fruit to turn into applesauce.
I start by filling my sink with apples, rinsing them, and cutting out the bad spots and cores. The chunks, with skin still on, go into a large stainless steel stock pot to cook down until they are quite soft. Since we have the wood stove stoked up to heat the house, I cooked my apples on top of it instead of turning the electric stove on. When they are soft enough, I run them through a food mill (also called a Foley mill) to remove the skins.
The applesauce is then heated back up to boiling, poured into quart or pint sized jars, and processed in a hot water bath canner. For our elevation, pints are processed for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes. Be sure to follow proper canning instructions (you can find on the National Center for Home Preservation’s website).
If you like, you can add sugar to your applesauce as you heat it up to ladle into jars. I only add sugar if the sauce tastes like it needs some. You can also add cinnamon or other spices, if you like your sauce spiced up a bit. The batch I’m making right now has nothing added to it and it tastes quite sweet. I didn’t want to add sugar, because our neighbor has diabetes and I want to take some of the finished sauce over to say thank you for the apples!
This is the second batch of homemade applesauce I’ve made from wild apples this fall. I canned 18 pints of sauce 2 weeks ago from apples shared by a lady on Freecycle. (She was very nice and I brought her a dozen fresh eggs from my hens when I went over to pick. ) Now I have my second batch of the day in the canner for total of 12 quarts today.
I love having home canned applesauce on my shelves for the winter. It tastes so much better than store bought and it’s a great feeling to have food put up and ready to use whenever we need it!