I recently learned that apples have more pesticide residue than any other fruit or vegetable. Really?? That’s not the one I would have picked. They’re at the top of the Dirty Dozen list for 2012. According to the Environmental Working Group, who puts out the list, picking 4 servings of fruits and veggies from the Dirty Dozen would result in consuming an average of 14 different pesticides a day! (from their Android app, Dirty Dozen. I’m sure there’s an iPhone app too)
So a couple weeks ago when I saw organic Jonathan apples on sale at Natural Grocers for only about $1.30/lb I bought an entire case, about 30lbs. Buying them by the case brought them down to about $1/lb!
So what in the world do you do with 30lbs of apples??
I sliced most of them and dried them in my Nesco Dehydrator (affiliate link) to make apple chips. YUMMY!! I could have added some cinnamon for a really special treat, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to use them so I left them plain. I sliced them 1/4″ thick on my mandolin slicer and dried them for about 18 hrs at 115 degrees. Time varies depending on ambient humidity.
So how do you prepare 30lbs of apples and retain all your appendages (not to mention your sanity)?
Probably everyone has an apple corer like this one. They sure make slicing apples quick!
But have you ever stopped to think about how much waste it leaves in the core?
OK, I know. I’m strange. But while certainly worth it, buying organic is more expensive than buying conventional. So I for one want to make sure I get as much out of my produce as I can!
I came across an excellent tip in one of the dehydrating groups I follow on Facebook. That particular group has closed but here’s the one that took its place: Dehydrating Tips and Recipes. I’m sorry I don’t remember who posted the tip or I would certainly give credit here!
|Look how much less waste there is
by using the melon baller!
Here’s your tip:
Rather than using an apple corer and lose so much good apple, Cut the apple in half and use a melon baller (affiliate link) to remove the core. GENIUS!
Think about it! The core is only about the size of a grape, but with an apple corer you’re throwing away a piece about the size of your thumb. Multiply that by 30 lbs of apples and that’s a lot of waste!
Sure it wasn’t as fast as the corer, but that’s fine by me. I got more apple slices and sauce that way!
Apple Sauce – the easy way!
My husband has very fond memories of his grandmother making apple sauce. I really wanted to find a good recipe. I SOOO wanted to hear him say “That’s tastes just like MawMaw’s!”
My first attempt didn’t elicit quite that response. I found a recipe somewhere online but I didn’t have the apples they recommended. I just used what I had on hand. Yup. Granny Smith (you already know where this is going….).
I followed the recipe to a tee and proudly served it to my husband along with his beloved hamburger. We won’t revisit the dinnertime conversation here….let’s just say it wasn’t what I craved.
So I tried again. This time with different apples. I don’t remember which ones, unfortunately, but they were red NOT green.
SUCCESS! He loved it! And I’ve been making it ever since.
Before learning the melon baller tip I would use the apple corer to slice the apples. I would put them in my slow cooker and drizzle some lemon juice over them to help keep them from browning. I left the apples on low for several hours until soft then used my immersion blender to puree them.
Since learning the melon baller trick, all I do is slice the apples in half, remove the core, pull out the stem and take a tiny bit out for the blossom end. I put them in the slow cooker without slicing further. I found this leaves less surface area for the apple to brown and they retain their color without lemon juice. Of course, I could add some just to give the apple sauce a little twang (I *am* Texan, ya know!). Keeping them in halves might make it just a little harder to get the immersion blender started good, but its not bad. You could also do them in a food processor or blender.
- 5 qt Slow Cooker*
- 2-3 lbs of sweet apples** I like Jonathan, Gala or Pink Lady
- 2-3 Tbsp Lemon Juice optional if leaving apples in halves
- Cinnamon Nutmeg or Apple Pie Spice to taste if you want to flavor your apple sauce (you can also add it after the sauce is done)
Slice and core apples using the melon baller trick. If you're using organic apples feel free to leave the peels on for more fiber, nutrients, and a little color (the Jonathan apple skins make a PINK applesauce!). If using conventional apples I would probably peel them to avoid at least some of the pesticides.
Put the apples in a 5 quart slow cooker. Drizzle with lemon juice and spices if desired. Leave them to cook for 3-4 hours on low or until they're tender. You might need to put a clothes pin on your nose so the yummy aroma won't tempt you to eat them before the sauce is done!!
* If you don't have a slow cooker, or for larger batches, you could probably cook the apples in the oven. I haven't tried it, but I would imagine they'd do well as long as they're tightly covered so they don't dry out. I'd probably start with 350 degrees and go from there, but that's just a guess.
** Try using pears for pear sauce! Or you could even combine apples and pears if you'd like.
Once tender, allow to cool at least a little. Immersion blenders tend to splatter if you aren't careful and you don't want to burn yourself!
Blend with the immersion blender, food processor or regular blender until it reaches your desired consistency. We like ours chunky.
Store in mason jars or other air tight container. I like mason jars because I can use my FoodSaver vacuum sealer to remove the air and the apple sauce lasts longer in the fridge.
Store in the fridge. Keeps for a week or 2 (assuming you can keep your family out of it that long!).