Last year, I was introduced to the concept of making applesauce in a turkey roaster by Larelle Michener, who blogged about it here.
This year, I gave it a whirl. And boy, while it’s sure nice to have an army of helpers and get it all done in a day (which is still my preference for making chunky applesauce), making smooth applesauce in a turkey roaster is my new favorite technique.
I started with some Golden Delicious…
… and Fuji apples, from Bill’s Berry Farm in Grandview.
They got hit by hail this year, so their apples were “sauce grade” – not pretty enough to sell as ‘eating fresh’ apples, but they sure make great sauce!
I washed and quartered them without coring or peeling. In a later batch, I cut them so as to get rid of the blossom and most of the seeds, but I didn’t try too hard to get it all.
In to the turkey roasters they went, with a bit of water (not more than a pint) in the bottom to prevent scorching. There they cooked, on low (about 180°) for the rest of the day.
I got them started at noon. I stirred every hour or so until they started softening, to make sure nothing on bottom scorched. A few got a little brown, so I wouldn’t leave them overnight… but they didn’t need much babysitting.
Five hours or so later, they were definitely showing signs of softening on the edges but were still firm in the middle.
Another hour or two went by, and they were soft all the way through and starting to disintegrate.
I pulled out my Squeezo – which is somewhat like a food mill on steroids, purchased on Ebay – and ran them all through.
This was the kids’ favorite part, incidentally – there were several tussles over whose turn it was to turn the handle. For my part, I rather liked having the kids that enthusiastic about helping. They were certainly more interested in helping with this type of sauce than they were in peeling apples for the chunky sauce we made in October!
The Squeezo took out all the skins, seeds, etc, and pushed out beautiful applesauce.
I stirred in cinnamon and poured it into jars. This sauce had so many Golden Delicious apples in it that it didn’t need any sugar.
The rims were wiped, lids and rings screwed on firmly, and the jars covered with 1”+ water in the canner and brought to a boil for 20 minutes. Upon removal, they all sealed, which is amazing all by itself; usually there’s at least one recalcitrant holdout. The rings were removed, jars wiped down with soapy water, labeled and hauled out to the pantry.
The two roasters-full turned out twelve pints of sauce and a couple quarts of skins/seeds/etc. My goats love the discards; I have a feeling that canning season may be their favorite.
I did three batches over the course of a week, and ended up with about 36 quarts of sauce. I say about 36, since the kids ate a bunch that never made it to the jars. One batch had apples that weren’t quite soft all the way through, and those didn’t go through the Squeezo quite as nicely; a lot of applesauce came out with the seeds and cores with that batch. The sauce was fairly soupy, so we used a sieve to lift it out of the roasters. The juice that was left over made great hot spiced cider later, although it wasn’t all that great cold.
This was, by far, the easiest method of making applesauce that I’ve tried yet. Next year, when I need to make cases of baby food, I’ll be using this method… unless I have an army of helpers to make it the old way!