Every year our family takes a trip to Eckert’s farm in Grafton, Illinois. We always go in October and take the Golden Eagle Ferry from St. Charles County, Missouri to Calhoun County and then the Brussels Ferry From Calhoun County to Grafton, IL (click here for more info). If you have never taken this journey, do it! Calhoun county is one of the most beautiful places, besides the ocean, that you will see. It is hilly, sparesely populated, and has many old grocery stores and markets which makes you feel like you are peering into a timecapsule from years past. My husband rode through this area on his motorcycle and decided that he would like to take me over there for a picnic and propose. When he stopped to ask the farmer if it would be ok, he threatened to shoot my husband. So he opted to propose at the swim-up bar in Cancun after several tequila shots. Ah, nothing but the best for me!
If you have ever taken your children apple picking, you know exactly what happens. They spend an hour picking apples, and they tend to pick A LOT of them. I mean, why stop them from picking apples? Apples are good for them, right? It’s not like you are in a candy store and you are letting them buy everything they can get their hands on. By the time you get back on the tractor and are driving to the checkout barn, you realize that everyone has a 10 lb. bag of apples! You start adding up how many lbs. you have and multiplying it by the cost per pound. You start to realize that these apples are going to cost you an amount equal to the cost of a weeks worth of groceries. Unless everyone plans to eat apples all week, you had better plan better next time.
I’ve been to this “rodeo” once or twice before. I have it all planned out. I learned exactly what to do with too many apples…you make applesauce. Making applesauce requires a lot of apples, and there is something amazing about homemade applesauce. It actually tastes like apples! Imagine that.
My recent experiment with applesauce was only a few weeks ago. My family has been on a smoothie kick, and I have been purchasing a lot of fresh fruit. I started researching smoothie recipes that included apples because I had 4 red apples that were spoiling in the “rotter drawer” in the fridge. It came as a suprise to me that most smoothie recipes called for applesauce, not apples. Not only did they call for applesauce, but they called for orange juice…I had neither. So, apparently, I had nothing better to do than to make homemade applesauce and orange juice, all so I could make an Apple Pie smoothie. I made the applesauce and went searching through the cabinets to find something to put the extra applesauce in. I will never make fun of my husband again for saving every jar and container that we empty (pickle jars, cherry jars, butter tubs, etc.). The jar you see in the picture was perfect. I’m glad it was there. The applesauce was great, the smoothie was not. Go figure!
There are hundreds of recipes for applesauce on the Internet, even some for the crockpot. One thing that is a MUST-have if you are going to do anything with apples is a peeler, corer, slicer like this one. This will cut your prep time in half. Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think. I bet you won’t want to eat store bought applesauce ever again!
4 large apples – peeled, cored, chunked
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon to taste
Place apple chunks into large pot. Fill pot with just enough water to cover the bottom layer of apples. Add in sugar and lemon juice and stir to coat apples. Add cinnamon stick or cinnamon. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour stirring occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick and then place apples into a food processor to puree. You can also use a potato masher if you don’t have a food processor. Pour into jar or airtight container, chill and enjoy. The applesauce can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
06 Sep 2011 Leave a comment