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Monday, November 3, 2014

Got Apples?

This is a guest post from my daughter, Christine. She spent the weekend preserving apples and found some great ideas for using up all the apple peels and cores.

Christine was just over a year old when we bought this box of apples from The Apple Man. He used to bring apples down from Washington and sell them out of the back of his van.

Dear Mom,

Just finished processing all of the apples that I bought. I was thinking you might want to do a fall post on all the things you can do with apples. There are a lot of great articles on how to use apple peels in creative ways, in addition to the usual apple sauce recipes. Although it definitely took two full days of canning/drying etc., I feel like the yield I got from them was pretty impressive. Without including the cost of my own time or the energy used by my stove and dehydrator, my calculations show that making my own applesauce is cheaper than buying unsweetened applesauce from Walmart. (Great Value brand costs $1.98 for 46 oz, so for me to break even, I had to be able to make at least 22 quarts of sauce for the amount of apples I purchased.) 

I bought 75 lbs of apples at the farmers market for $10 per 25 lb. box (total of $30, or 40 cents per pound, which was cheaper than I could find to pick them myself) - two boxes of Granny Smith and one box of Jonagold. I mistakenly thought that you should use tart apples for canning like you do for pie, before I read the recipes that said you're supposed to use sweeter apples. Oops!  At least they were local (from Martinez Garden in Milton Freewater which is only about an hour away from La Grande). From these apples, I was able to make:
  • about 3 quart size bags full of dried apples
  • about 1 quart bag full of dried apple peels (dusted in cinnamon for putting on oatmeal to add texture and flavor)
  • 2.5 pints of apple peel jelly 
  • 3 quarts of apple juice (using only the peels and cores)
  • 25 quarts of applesauce
I'm exhausted but pretty proud of myself!  Thanks for teaching me how to do all of this, and to appreciate the process to begin with.  

Love,
Christine

Note: Christine says the apple peel jelly is a really pretty natural red color, even though more than half of the apple peels she used were from green apples. She added ground cinnamon and whole cloves (tied in a coffee filter) when she made the apple juice and used that juice to make the jelly. Great Christmas gift idea!

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