Sunday, September 23, 2012

Applesauce Factory

Preliminary:  Children to wash 1 bushel apples, children to wash jars and place in oven.

Left to right:

Holding Tank (bowl):  hot applesauce waits here to be placed into jars

Sterile Prep (4-quart crockpot):  lids and rings are kept hot in water

Staging Area (cutting board): jars are filled here; dishcloth, hotpads, and tongs kept in readiness

Initial Vat (stockpot):  apples first are cooked down for about an hour over medium heat; stirred often

Furnace (oven): hot, sterile jars are kept at 200 degrees in readiness for hot applesauce

Secondary Vat (enamel canner):  7 full jars at a time are processed in the boiling water bath for 20 minutes; jar lifter kept at readiness to the right

Saucing Station (Foley food mill over pot):  cooked apples are sieved into sauce here; hotpads, silicone spatula, small enamel saucepan stationed here as well

Not shown:  Large crockpot with apple butter, a new project for the factory this year.  Results to be evaluated.  Small output until results are evaluated.

Cooling Area:  Filled jars are left to cool and finish sealing for 24 hours.  Then they are labeled and stored in a cool, dark place (the basement), ready to be a delicious addition to a winter meal at a moment's notice.

Observations:  This job requires a person with four arms, minimum.  Four people are too many bodies, but four arms is perfect.  Fewer arms leads to exhaustion and decreased efficiency.  Lunch break is necessary.  Better with cold leftover pizza.  Kitchen must have hotpads in various sizes and thicknesses.

Total output of factory day:  21 quarts, 1/2 pint of applesauce; 3 1/2 pints of apple butter


Rhonda said...

I've never made applesauce but I have made crockpot apple butter,
even if you had a mess, I know your home must of smelled wonderful.

Christian - Modobject@Home said...

And you continue to amaze me!

Zoë said...

Applesauce day is the best and the worst!

I made apple butter recently. Best batch I ever made and I think it's because I beat the tar out of it with my stick blender as it was cooking down. It's so smooth and spreads delightfully.

Margo said...

Zoe, good tip with the stick blender. Thanks.

Jennifer Jo said...


Thrifty Mom in Boise said...

Wow! Great job. I make my applesauce and my apple butter in my slow cooker. I do much smaller batches than you do, however. What a sense of accomplishment!

loves2spin said...

4 arms! Why didn't I think of that?? It certainly does take time and planning to get such projects done, and it is so satisfying on many levels!

BLD in MT said...

What a delightful breakdown of your factory I mean! It can be a lot of work, can't it? But in the end I think its more than worth it.

Your sauce is such a lovely color! Ours turned out a little pinkish this year.

Margo said...

Actually, BLD, pink applesauce means "Cortland apples" to me and that is some delicious sauce! The Cortlands were $11.95 for half a bushel and the Smokehouse only $8.95, so yes, I used Smokehouse.

Sew Blessed Maw said...

I just know your house was smelling really good.. yummy!!!

BLD in MT said...

We've just always scrounged for trees around town so I've never known what kind of apple I've been using. In fact, I never thought of it until your comment. How interesting!

Polly said...

Gathering my courage to possibly make some applesauce to preserve and read your comment--8.95!!!!! Right now the half bushels offered by our local locavore source are 18.95!!!! (non-organic!) I haven't checked the orchard up the road though. My hunch is that they will be less, but how much less remains to be seen.

Margo said...

Polly, ask them when the best price is (for next year!). I usually make applesauce just as the fall apples are coming in because they're cheapest then. Also, ask for seconds which are perfect for applesauce. Do you have any pick-your-own orchards? They are usually cheaper yet, although we don't have any organic orchards that do that. When I'm searching for produce to preserve, I call places until I get the right combination of price, location, and convenience. Good luck!

Polly said...

I had no idea that they are cheaper at the start of the season! What a good tip. Because of gleaned fruit we have received in the past I think I've always associated end of the season with 'cheap/free'. This is great to know. I will also hunt down seconds. We do have at least one pick-your-own orchard (I think) but they're not organic, either. However that would be good particularly once Annie is big enough to help out!!!!! I do like organic but it is not a deal-breaker for me....though maybe it should be since apples are one of the Dirty Dozen!!!



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