Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eight days to deadline & I’m only halfway there…

Due to a huge mistake I made 18 months ago & only caught on Thursday (no, there is no way I can blame it on anyone else, because others steadfastly refuse to share the in the annual responsibility), my 25 property report has become a 160 property report, with the same due date & guaranteed associated fines.

Crap. Baring teeth

Crisis mode has taken effect & my co-workers will be flying to my aid, taking over the majority of my daily duties, until I can get the report done.

Once I recover, that is.

Yes, I succumbed to Sam’s flu bug; I don’t have it as bad as he did, but I’m sick enough to stay out of the office for the past two days. On the one hand, I know I could be toughing it out & working after hours, so as not to infect everyone; one the other hand, I know it will be there waiting for me when I’m feeling better.

Duty or comfort?

I’d rather make applesauce.

Don’t look so impressed~ it really is quite easy. Saturday morning, Chris & I took off for our postponed trip to Apple Hill, & came home with all sorts of goodies, including this great antique apple crate & a quarter bushel of apples (approximately 30 medium sized). I picked out a mixture of mostly tart apples, with a couple sweeter ones thrown in: Granny Smith, Red Rome, Gala, Fuji, Winesap, & Arkansas Black.

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First step is to wash & peel the apples; I rough-peel mine, leaving bits of skin, because, well, I’m lazy & I like the skin. Next you need to remove the cores, using a handy-dandy apple corer (definitely worth the $5 investment) which also slices it into wedges- all that’s left is to chop them a bit more.

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I like chunky applesauce, so mine are cut into one inch cubes- cut them up smaller if you like a smoother texture. Toss them into a thick-bottomed dutch oven or large saucepan, add about an inch of water or unsweetened apple juice, & put the lid on it.

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Bring the mixture to a full boil, then turn it down to low & cook until the apples are soft, maybe 10 minutes. Stir them first with a wooden spoon to check the consistency- notice that most of it has broken down into sauce texture- & if you want it smoother, either cook another 5-10 minutes or use a masher like I do.

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At this point, add sugar to taste if you want- I use about a quarter cup of brown sugar if it’s really tart- & put in your seasoning; I use about ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, my favorite, per 8 cups of applesauce.

Now you are pretty well done; put your sauce into sterilized quart jars & it will keep in the fridge for a month. Or you can take the next step & hot bath can them, which will preserve it for 18 months- its super simple & worth the extra 30 minutes or so of work time. Fill a large, deep pot with water & heat to boiling, while boiling the lids in a smaller pan for about 5 minutes (which activates the rubber seal).

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After filling your hot, sterilized jars with the still warm applesauce, leaving ¼ inch head room, put a lid on it & tighten down the ring to seal. Using a jar lifter (kind of like a giant pair of tongs, but wider to hold a jar), lower the jars into the large pot, making sure there is at least one inch of water over the top of the lids, & process them for 20 to 30 minutes.

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Remove the jars from the pot & allow to cool, which will cause the vacuum seal to form; check the tops after the jars cool by pressing on the lids- they should be rigid & tight.

So, for an investment of $7.00 worth of apples, ½ cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of spice, four one-quart jars (left over from the case I bought for last Christmas’ Soup-in-the-Jar gifts), & less then 1 ½ hours labor time, I ended up with 4 quarts plus 2 bowls of applesauce & a house that smells wonderful!

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Oh, yeah~ & a bowl of comfort food Wink




Amy's Blah, Blah, Blogging said...

Applesauce never sounded so good!

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm thanks for this recipe!

Guinevere said...

This post brings back memories!!! My mom used to make applesauce and apple butter all the time when I was growing up. And my sister and I would get recruited to help. :o) My favorite memory, though, is going to pick apples in October or early November (just remember it was COLD out) and then taking them (BUNCHES of them) to a friend's apple press and making homemade cider. We had enough apples that we got about 15 gallons of apple cider to put in our freezer. YUMMMMMMMM!

Jane! said...

I'm feeling your pain on having to redo the report... but I would be more tempted to drowned my sorrows in a few sappy chick flicks than applesauce... especially if I had to make it.
Hope you and your report are on the mend!

suzee said...

Mmmmm, I love applesauce.

Hope you feel better soon. I'm home today, too, laid up with a tummy bug...wonder if it's the same one!

nikkicrumpet said...

hmmmm sounds great...my way is easier....screw of lid...tada! applesauce! But then I'm not domesticated yet. Hope you get feeling better soon!

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mitchowl said...

Hi Meg,
I used to make applesauce, but I was even lazier. I cooked the apples, peeling cores and all and then ran it all through a cool machine that mashed the fruit and extracts all the extras. Your pictures kind of made me hungry for some homemade applesauce. I should make some more.....

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Kally said...

Yum! This sounds so good. I am now mentally making plans for the apples in my fridge.

Lisa said...

Well. I absolutely don't have time to make my own applesauce, so I'll just enjoy yours by internet proxy. ;) I'll be praying for lots of energy for you - and renewed health. {Families are great for sharing ... lots of things!}

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Comfort food. Is there any other?

GardenGoose said...

hope you get to feeling better.and hope things get caught up at work.

Tabitha Blue said...

I love fresh, homemade applesauce! It does smell delish too. Hope you recover quickly.... from the bug and from work!! :)

Tabitha Blue said...

I love fresh, homemade applesauce! It does smell delish too. Hope you recover quickly.... from the bug and from work!! :)

Debbie said...

We must be kindred spirits because when I have terrible deadlines, I can find anything else to do!

Andrea @ Big Creek Cottage said...

Holly cow, SITSa....I am impressed!!!!