Our Yellow Transparent apple tree produces about 2 bushels of apples in Mid-July and Early August, right in the middle of our busiest time of year. Summer-bearing apples don’t store for more than a week and are pretty mediocre for fresh eating, but they’re perfect for applesauce. Their soft crumbly texture means they break down quickly into a smooth creamy applesauce.
The trick is, how do you can 2 bushels of apples when you have about a thousand other summer projects?
The answer… a food mill.
Using a food mill to make applesauce means you skip the time-consuming peeling and coring steps. Just coarsely chop the apples before cooking them into a chunky sauce. The food strainer will puree them down to a smooth sauce, while at the same time removing the peels and cores.
There are a number of different types of food mills. I have friends who are fond of the countertop chinois sieve. It’s non-electric and works quickly. My friends at the free-range life have a hand powered counter mount strainer that they use for bulk applesauce batches. Personally, I’m fond of my KitchenAid food strainer. I use a KitchenAid regularly in my cooking, so it’s almost always out and ready to go.
The food strainer attachment processes applesauce in no time. It took about 15-20 minutes to work through 40 pints of sauce.
I timed myself at each step, making a huge batch of 40 pints of applesauce:
Chopping: 15 minutes
Cooking: 45-60 minutes
Straining: 15-20 minutes
Canning: 45-55 minutes
Total Time: 2 to 2.5 hours
Of that 2 hours, only about half 45 minutes was “hands-on” time. Chopping the apples, using the food strainer and then loading the canner.
How to Make Applesauce With a Food Mill
Yellow transparent apples are acidic and quite tart. They taste best with a bit of sugar added, and a generous helping of ginger to balance out the acidity. If you’re using milder or sweeter apples, feel free to omit the sugar or spices.
Yield: 40 Pints (approximate)
Process Time: 15 for Pints
Headspace: 1/2 inch
Method: Water Bath Canner
25-30 lbs Apples (5 gallons chopped)
2-4 Quarts Water or Apple Juice
1-3 C Sugar (optional)
2-3 t Ground Ginger (optional)
2-3 t Ground Cinnamon (optional)
1-2 T Molasses (optional)
Coarsely chop the apples in half or quarters. Bring them to a boil in a large stockpot with 2-4 quarts water or apple juice. Once boiling, turn down to low and cook for 30-45 minutes until the apples disintegrate. Process immediately (or allow to cool) with through a KitchenAid Food Strainer or Chinois Sieve. Bring applesauce back up to a boil and can in a water bath canner. Process 15 minutes with 1/2 inch headspace for pints under 1000 feet. Remember to adjust cook time for altitude.