I wanted to call this jar William Told but I thought that it`s given name (William Tell) was a cryptic enough reference to apples:
I suppose the logical amongst us might wonder what this has to do with William Tell. The truth is, mostly nothing. But if you`re willing to stretch your imagination with me you`ll notice that the jar in the back has apple slices with holes in them (a la the arrow).
The astute will also notice that our sauce is very dark – this is on the edge of being an apple butter but it is most definitely sauce. More on the color later..
Both jars were made during our saucy Sunday and even though only the sauce counts as our official entry to the can jam (it went through the water bath), I figure that there`s going to be a lot of sauce and this part may be a little unique so let`s start with it.
When I make sauce I start, like most others, by peeling. We did 56 pounds of apples this year and it`s a lot of peeling.
I find the tops and bottoms of the apples to the most finicky part of peeling – it adds a lot of time to the process. To save the intricate work, I cut the top and bottom off the apple and toss the `caps`into the dehydrator. They won`t be very good eating (the skins get tough in the process) but I am willing to bet I might just have the start of my own tea mixture. I plan to mix it with some other dehydrated batches (lemons, cranberries) and some spices (cinnamon) and see what happens with tea. I adore experimentation like this and the combination of techniques to make multiple batches of things in the same process.
My number one trick to sauce is using multiple varieties of apples. This year we used:
- 18 pounds of ida red
- 6 pounds of spartan
- 9 pounds of mcintosh
- 3 pounds of empire
- 3 pounds of northern spy
- 3 pounds of courtland
For every 3 pounds of apples (i.e. multiply the following by 14) add:
- .5 cups water
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- a cinnamon stick (remove it before canning)
- .5-.75 cups of sugar.
We also added a cup of maple syrup at the end – a step that was both expensive and probably best skipped. I would add a touch of maple syrup to individual jars when I open them if I wanted (absolutely optional). I think the 1 cup of syrup will get lost in the cauldron of apples we made.
Cook it down and process in Hot water bath for 15 minutes.
Another trick to applesauce that I’ve learned the hard way: once the apples are peeled I put them in a food processor with the slicing blade on. This makes all of the pieces a uniform thickness and the sauce cooks down evenly. I slow cook my sauce which saves mashing it and, in part, darkens the color because of the reducing process that happens in the slow cook. Much like tomato sauce, we reduce the entire batch (by 10-20% in the case of apples) which produces a thicker end product with more intense flavor.
Other than the long cook and maple syrup we also used brown sugar which darkens our sauce. The inspiration is from caramel apples and just adds a little more ooompf to our sauce. Yes, I said ooompf.
We ended up with 30 2-cup jars in total and we’ll have enough to last 12-18 months although I really could eat the entire thing in a week.