I love living in the country. About six years ago, my husband and I decided to move from the city to a farm in the country. I knew the area well, as I had grown up there; my mother and four sisters are all within just a few minutes drive of our new home. At the time, we had two children and the freedom of the country was exactly what they needed. I would often catch Rayna rolling through the grass with a big smile on her face, or hopping along and flapping her arms beside a little bird. Calli could be found climbing trees and setting up stages for plays in the woods. Now that we have expanded our family our two little boys have also found the space of the country to be a lot of fun too. They shoot pucks beside the barn, climb many trees and have lots of room to play soccer from sun-up to sun-down!
One wonderful benefit of the country is all the fruit trees, some planted by previous owners and some we planted over the years. The early apples were ready last week and we had a great time picking them and making the apple sauce for the winter. I am not sure if it will last that long, but we have another apple tree that should have apples ready to pick in the fall.
This is a super simple recipe that I would love to share with you – all organic and easy to make and jar!
Step 1: Send the kids out to pick up the apples off the ground that are good, and pick any from the tree that are ripe.
Step 2: Wash the apples! Don’t worry if there are spots on them as you can cut these off before cooking.
Step 3: This is the easy part – you don’t need to peel the apples or cut out the core. Simply, cut into the apple (to make sure there aren’t any worms hiding inside), cut off the stem and cut any bad spots off.
Step 4: Cook the apples in a large saucepan with just enough water on the bottom so they don’t stick and burn! I use about an inch of water. Cook on medium, stirring often just until soft – don’t overcook. Use a sieve like the one below (we call him ‘George’ – no disrespect to the new royal baby!) I borrow George from my mom each canning season and it makes canning so easy. Thanks Mom!
Step 5: Pour the apples into the sieve and grind into a pot below.
Step 6: Add your sugar and salt now while stiring over low-medim heat. The applesauce will spit up at you, so lower the heat if this happens. You can also add cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice at this point – whichever you like. My kids don’t like the extra seasoning, so I just add sugar and salt to taste. In a large saucepan, I would add about 3/4 cut of sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt…but you can add more or less depending on your taste. I usually let the kids make the final decision before canning…just to make sure it is sweet enough for them:)
Step 7: Ladle the hot applesauce into jars to enjoy all year long! If you are not familiar with canning, here is a link to Bernardin to give you the details on how to complete this process: http://www.bernardin.ca/pages/recipe_page/51.php?pid=156
The first time I tried canning, it took me forever, but it is so fun and easy now. I have made a few jams, using berries from around the farm and from family and neighbours, and today I will be attempting Gooseberry Jam! It’s a bit of work now for peace of mind all year long that you know what you are feeding your family. Share your recipes with us here as it is always fun to try something new!
Until next time!