Friday, October 14, 2011

Canning #3: Applesauce

Canning project #3 this fall was applesauce, led by an offshoot of the Somerville Yogurt Co-op, which decided to 1) harvest urban fruit that would otherwise go to waste, and 2) teach its members some canning skills.

The first surprise for me was how delicious city apples -- small, bumpy, brown spotted -- were. I'd passed the tree they were on a hundred times without even noticing that there was fruit on it. But the apples were sweet and tart, and if not cosmetically perfect, still fine (with a bit of knife-work) to eat out of hand.

My second surprise was the absolute simplicity of applesauce as we made it: Quarter the apples (not bothering to remove stems, cores, or seeds); cook them in a tiny bit of water until soft (we used a pressure cooker, but that's not necessary); crank them through a food mill; and voila, applesauce!

(Here's how the USDA tells you to make it. To properly can applesauce in boiling water, process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20.)

And my third surprise was the deliciousness of warm-from-the-pot, freshly made, pinkish-tinted (from the peels), nothing-but-apples applesauce. Once again, the canning was a superfluous step, as a pint is two servings in my house, and my whole share of our harvest lasted less than a week.

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