Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bountiful Harvest {Making applesauce at the Home Place}

Greetings from Robyn about the "Home Place" this warm July morning.

Growing up in the countryside by Kalona there is one sure event to take place each year; the harvesting of fresh fruits and vegetables. Last week my mom and dad (Tom the author and Shari his wife) had my boys overnight for a special treat for both me and my boys. When I went to pick them up Grandma Shari was in the process of "working up" some apples into delicious homemade applesauce. My boys had helped pick apples that morning and then Grandma got right to work. Noticing that she had hours of work on her hands I got right to work helping her.

Along with "working up" apples we worked up some memories too. As I carefully pressed the apples through the Victorio Strainer I began to reminisce of all the years I sat watching my mom and Grandma Ruby crank the apples through. When I was very little (ages 3-5) I sat opposite "helping" pull the waste from the end and guide it into the bowl thinking those mashed up seed and peels were so neat to touch and squish. As I grew older my job switched over to using a spatula to gently guide the hot applesauce to the opposite end of the pan as it poured down the spout. And then as I was a teenager my job became the cranker and masher which involves pushing scalding hot apples through the top dish while cranking to grind the seeds and peels through one end and creating smooth streams of hot applesauce out the main spout.

The best part of "working up" apples is the opportunity for women of all ages to sit and have conversation with each other which usually involves stories of the women in past generations doing the same. For instance, I think that every time since I was a little girl the story of my Great Grandma Kinsinger having a Victorio Strainer tip and pour scalding hot apples on her arm and burning her badly was topic of discussion when asking us to stand back while the apples were transported to the strainer.

And then, there are the memories of that big bowl (or two or three) of warm applesauce with heaping spoonful's of sugar on top, sometimes resulting in a tummy ache from over-indulgence. The hum of box fans ring clear in my memory too as the kitchen heats up quickly from the apples on the stove top in mid-July. As well as the sweet aroma of fresh warm applesauce that lingers through the entire farm house, always keeping your tummy hungry for more.

Take a peek at the process.

Starting with the beautiful blooms in the trees earlier this spring. We knew that there would be a bountiful harvest.
One of the 6 bags full of apples that the boys picked with Grandma Shari.
Apples soaking in the sink, waiting to be cut and stemmed then boiled.
Scalding hot and straining the extra liquid out just before being put into the Victorio Strainer.
And the process begins. . .

Even the "waste" is pretty to look at with the shades of green and brown and red. This also makes great compost for the garden!
And the bowls and bowls of applesauce waiting to cool then be mixed with sugar and poured into freezer bags for yummy applesauce all year round.

Why add sugar? Well, just ask my oldest son Alex! After offering him a bowl of freshly made sauce he turned it down saying it was too green and he wanted the jar of the unsweetened sauce from the grocery store. I asked him why? When this is so yummy? A couple of days later I told him he needed to try it one more time because I think that he is missing out! After adding in a "touch" more sugar he licked the bowl clean! He said "Mom, those apples must have just been a little too green and after sitting in the fridge for a couple of days the applesauce must have "ripened" up!" Haha! Pretty cute logic coming from an almost 6 year-old. The texture is what makes homemade sooooo good and the sugar helps balance the sour from the green apples.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the process we use to make homemade applesauce. Although I am sure Amish would not freeze their applesauce but can it instead. Which involves even more work and another process in addition to "working up" the apples.
Mom ended having up with 60 quarts of applesauce that remains stocked in the deep freeze for all of use to enjoy!

all photos in this post are:  ©RubyEllenPhotography 2013

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