Sunday, July 26, 2009

An Apple a Day...

I picked these up last week...

They're Yellow Transparent apples from an orchard in Penrose (CO). I replied to an ad on Craigslist and had a really nice chat with one of the orchard owners. I hope to pay them a visit during the fall apple season. I was able to pick these up in Colorado Springs this time.

Yellow Transparent apples are an early variety that originated in Russia (or thereabouts) and were introduced into the U.S. in 1870. I had never had them before, and when I tried to find out more about them, I kept reading posts like "my grandmother always used these for applesauce" or "my grandmother used them for apple pie" or "they're hard to come by and tend to be expensive", so I decided to give them a try (though at $15 for a 30# box, I didn't think they were too expensive).

They have a flavor that is tart like a Granny Smith but with a texture like a McIntosh. Since I wanted apples in the fall for applesauce (but didn't end up getting any), that was my plan for most of them.

I was well supervised, as usual.

The first batch, I cooked about 10#. I added about a cup of water and cooked them at low/med heat. I also added a little citric acid powder to this batch because the recipe I was looking at said to (and I had some). I don't really need a recipe for applesauce, but I was using one for guidance on the amount of water and sugar to add. It turned out not to be so helpful. Although I multiplied the amount of water they recommended, it wasn't enough for the size pot I used, and I ended up scorching the apples on the bottom and I still had to add more sugar for the right taste.

I made more last night. This time, I added 2 cups of water and had much better results.

10 pounds of apples, quartered and cored

Cooked until tender

Pressed through the "applesauce smusher" as I've always called it, though an Internet search last year told me it's really called a chinois

I know there are more modern & efficient ways to make applesauce, but this is how we did it it when I was growing up and there's something I find satisfying about it.

After "smushing" I set the pan back onto the warm (turned off) burner and added the sugar. I added cinnamon to the first batch since the scorching darkened it and cinnamon seemed like a good idea. I didn't add any to the second batch. I added a splash of orange juice instead of the citric acid powder to the second batch.

I hadn't really intended to turn the ENTIRE box into applesauce. I planned to slice and freeze some for apple pie and other apple goodies as well. Thing is, I didn't get to it quickly enough. After a couple of warm days (we don't have A/C), the apples were fading fast (did I mention they don't keep very well?). By last night, they no longer had the crisp texture they had just last week and they were beginning to discolor in their centers. I didn't think they'd make great pie anymore, so into the pot they went! After letting the sauce cool a bit, I spooned it into containers and froze it. So, I didn't get the variety of uses (though one can use applesauce for many things) I did get the homemade applesauce I was looking for (and can I just say YUM!).


sb158 said...

Looks yummy. My Hubby's grandmother had one of your "applesauce smushers" but I was told it was for making jelly. Guess that would work too. I still have it, but almost never use it. As you say, it's about efficient (translate "fast and easy") for me. Too hot around here to spend too mcuh time in the kitchen.

Toni said...

Oh boy Amy, I can just imagine the wonderful pungent aroma of your applesauce simmering on the stove!!!

Amy said...

sb, the smusher belonged either to my grandmother or my great-aunt, I forget right now which. I've used it for apples and I tried using it on some raspberries once to remove some of the seeds. It didn't work well on the berries as I recall.

Toni, I wish I could have smelled it. I didn't ever leave the house to walk back in and get the full "yum" effect of the smell.

Ribbit said...

"Musher" is a technical term. It works just fine. :)

That box looks just beautiful, but no AC!? I think I'd die. We easily get to the high 80's in the house with no AC.

Amy said...

We've always had AC (except in Alaska of course) so we were worried when this house didn't have it, but it's really not too bad (usually). We have a portable AC for the bedroom when it's hot upstairs that I haven't used at all this year - it cools down a lot at night and by the time I go to bed the bedroom has cooled and has a nice breeze going through.

Shawn Ann said...

wow that looks good. The only thing I ever did to make apple sauce was steam em and puree em. I guess the different type apples makes a difference! And I only learned to do that after making them for my babies (baby food)...he he! Who knew it would be so good!

Just Jenn said...

I love your technical terms... "smushers" lol What a beautiful box of apples! I tiny little part of me can hardly wait for those late fall crops to be ready... mmmmm apple pie!

Amy said...

Shawn Ann,
I also like it when you use red apples - since they're cooked & smushed with the skin on, the applesauce is pink. This is the first yellow applesauce I've ever made.

I was wanted those fall apples last year & never got them, I think that's why I got these. I didn't realize there were apples that ripen in July - it seems so out of season. I do want to go check out the orchard in the fall.