Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Applesauce round 3, or is that 4?

I visited my good friend, Sarah, in Spokane a month ago.  She used to live here in the Seattle suburbs but had been considering a move to the east side of the state for years.  I miss her terribly, but I am so happy for her and her sweet family. 

They live more rural now with acreage, a dozen fruit trees, and 20 chickens!  Their garden is huge and they are learning how to care for all those fruit trees.  When I visited her I was amazed at all the food that was stored all over her huge house.  There were potatoes, pears, and onions in a big family room in the basement.  There were boxes and boxes of fruit in three fridges and freezers in her garage.  There were also many tomatoes, cantaloupe and I can't even remember what else laying on tables in the garage ripening.  She had a huge closet with shelves she'd already begun to fill with canned goods, too. 

In theory I would love that kind of life, growing so much of our own food, spending little on groceries, and literally depending on God for the harvest.  But it would also be hard for me, I think, to let so much food go to waste and I would feel so pressured to preserve as much as I could.  Sarah is great at not stressing over the food loss.  She says it was hard just at first, but now it's just part of their way of life.  Some food spoils, but there is just so much it's not too upsetting to 'lose' some.  The chickens eat much of that on-the-edge food, too, so it's not really wasted.  I would love the abundance though, and the ability to give to friends and neighbors. 

Sarah blessed our family by giving us lots of fruit from her trees.  Her husband came out and helped us pick several boxes of fruit.  I brought home two big boxes of apples, but I don't remember the varieties.  One was golden delicious and the other was a red.  She also gave me lots of little pears.  Those have been in my fridge for a month.  I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do with them.  Can them?  Make pear butter?  Just mix them into more applesauce?  We'll see.

Here's the apple boxes after I'd dug into them significantly.

I mixed in a few pears as they didn't all fit into my fridge. 

DD#3 is quite the little kitchen helper.  She is around all the time wanting to do anything I can teach her to do.

This is what happens when you don't position the bowl correctly under the applesauce chute.

The finished product: 24 more applesauce quarts.  I only bought one box of wide-mouth lids so I was limited to how much I could actually can.  All my regular mouth jars were filled this summer with peaches and earlier applesauce.  Luckily I found a couple stray lids so I could do two full 7 quart loads in the water bath.  The rest I just tucked into the freezer and DD#2, our applesauce lover, has already made her way through over half of the frozen containers.

Total applesauce made this year is up to 79 quarts.  I estimated that we go through about 100 quarts per year and I think I'm on track to get awfully close!  I just bought another 20 pounds of apples for the bargain price of $7.00, and those apples should make another 8 or 9 jars, I think.  If I mix in some pears I can probably stretch it to another dozen.  We'll see!


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