What an apple-y day! Sauce, butter, pies, dehydrated “chips”

Remember that post about ugly apples? Well, yesterday, we had the opportunity to go DEEP with those apples!uglies.jpg We estimate that we had 350-400 pounds of apples and dramatically UNDERestimated how much time it was going to take to process them all. Fortunately for us, our good friends, the Barrys, joined us for a processing party. Also, fortunately for us, they are Hard Workers!bagsofapples.jpg

(We had FIVE big blue IKEA bags overflowing with apples.)

Before anyone came over, I wrote out the gameplan on the whiteboard in the dining room. I listed out the steps for making applesauce, making apple butter, making pie kits to put in the freezer, and dehydrating apple slices. When everyone arrived, including our college-aged son, I showed them the gameplan and commenced to bossing them all around. Fortunately, everyone was amenable to that.

Here are the four lists:


  • Wash applesbins-of-apples.jpg
  • Quarter them and cut out the bad bits
  • Boil a whole bunch in a huge canning kettle with several cups of water until mushy
  • Put the mush through the millgranmasmill.jpg
  • Add sugar as needed to the saucebucketosauce.jpgbig-bucket.jpg
  • Put the sauce back into a large stock pot and bring back up to boil
  • Sterilize lids and rings
  • Wash quart jars (the jars ended up getting sterilized also, but every cookbook I can find says that running them through the dishwasher is enough.)
  • Put sauce in jars
  • Water bath the jars for 23 minutes2kettles.jpg

Apple Butter

  • Wash applesapples-everywhere.jpg
  • Quarter apples and cut out nasty spots
  • Put 18 c. apples, 1 c. cider vinegar, and 5 c. apple juice into large canning kettle (double this quantity for a large canning kettle)
  • Boil apples until mushy
  • Send mush through the millmill2.jpg
  • Return the resulting sauce to large pan
  • Add 4 c. sugar, 3 t. cinnamon, 1 1/2 t. cloves, 1 1/2 t. allspice and stir in (remember to double this if you also doubled the apples, vinegar, and juice.)
  • Cook this sauce for hours and hours and hours….until it’s VERY thick. Stir often and be very careful not to let it get to actively bubbly or it will spit EXTREMELY hot apple butter onto innocent bystanders. This step takes HOURS!applebutter.jpgthe-setup.jpg
  • Sterilize lids and rings
  • Ladle hot apple butter into clean pint or half-pint jars
  • Water bath apple butter for 12 minutes.

We had an interesting thing happen with one batch of apple butter; I’ll tell you about it later.

Apple Pie Kits

  • Wash apples
  • Peel, core, and slice applespeeling.jpg
  • Put 6 cups of apples in ziplock bag with 1 c. sugar, 2 t. cinnamon, 2 T. all-purpose flour, 1/2 t. allspice
  • Zip the bag shut and shake it all about (the Hokey Pokey will work here)
  • Label bags
  • Freeze

Dehydrated apples

  • Wash apples
  • Peel, core, and slice apples
  • Spread slices on racks from dehydrator
  • While those are dehydrating, make up a second bag of apple slices to dry tomorrow


Now, here’s what I learned yesterday. I am GETTING RID of that apple mill from my Grandma. We borrowed the mill pictured below and it did such a superior job of making the apple mush into sauce that I’m swearing off those old mills forever.

Then there’s the odd thing I mentioned with our apple butter. We cooked down one of the pots of apple butter in a less-than-well-cured cast iron dutch oven. Somehow the vinegar and sugars and apple juices all reacted with the cast iron. The apple butter LOOKS fine and tastes great, but it gave us all blue teeth and blue lips! We’re trying to figure out what exactly happened there. The closest we’ve come so far is a discovery by Laura’s husband of a “recipe” for making blue ink using iron acetate, vinegar and tea. That might be a Clue. Any chemists out there?

At the end of the day, we had 69 jars of applesauce, 25 pints of apple butter, 24 apple pie kits, and apple slices dried from 8 quarts of apples. Even more important, we spent hours and hours of great fun and conversation, watching our kids work together cooperatively and without a single complaint, and getting to know our friends better. This seems destined to become an annual event!


5 thoughts on “What an apple-y day! Sauce, butter, pies, dehydrated “chips”

  1. Love your site! Do you have your baking instructions for the apple pie kits? Thank you so much for posting your ideas!

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