Dec 7, 2011

Homemade Applesauce and Fruit Leather

I bought too many apples from Azure Standard and decided to turn them into applesauce. Having never done this before, I decided to take pictures along the way - thinking that there's someone else out there who would like to learn.

My son requested that we flavor it with blueberries.  I used frozen ones that I'd purchased this summer at the farmers market.
Chop your apples.  I cored them as I went.  For those of you who have a fancy corer/peeler/slicer, use it. I removed about half of the skins because I read on another blog that you could leave the skin on.

I added about 1/4 inch water in the bottom of my stock pot to get things going.  You don't need much water, the apples will do the work once you get them started.
Be sure to stir every so often so you don't scorch the bottom.  I turned on the heat when my pot was about 3/4 full and kept adding apples, cutting/peeling as I went.  I think I put about 20 pounds of apples in my 6 quart stock pot.  Amazing.
Once the apples are completely mushy it has cooked enough.  You can either use a potato masher or an immersible blender.  I went the mechanical route.
Though the picture does not correctly convey the color, it was a lovely purple.

We ate about two quarts as apple sauce and the rest I poured into my dehydrator trays and made fruit leather.  My dehydrator only came with one fruit leather tray, so I cut parchment paper to size for the other trays (and reused it the next day for another batch.)  I liked the performance of the parchment paper best.  The leather was easier to remove from the paper.  But maybe your dehydrator would perform differently.
Below is the manufacturer's fruit leather tray.
You can see that the leather was not easily removed.  Also from this picture you can see the bits of skin.  Perhaps if I had a more powerful blender, it would have resulted in a smoother texture.  My texture sensitive 7-year-old son did not complain of the texture in the fruit leather.  However, he did not prefer the texture of the skin in the applesauce.  My 18-month-old baby did not complain either way.
Was it worth the time?
Well, the apples would have gone to waste if I had not turned it into applesauce.  They were a bit mushy when we bought them (it was my first and only box of mushy apples from Azure.)  So, in this sense, yes, it was worth my time.  In another sense, it was a fun homeschooling project for my son to see how to make applesauce and fruit leather.  However, it was time consuming.  

Was it worth the money?
The apples were organic and I could not purchase the volume of organic applesauce or fruit leather for the cost of the apples.  If your family eats a great amount of organic applesauce or fruit leather, then, yes, by all means - tackle this!  

{FYI Apples are on the dirty dozen list.  Meaning, if you are going to buy something organic let it be apples.  Conventional apples are sprayed with dangerous chemicals called pesticides at least twelve times before they reach your hands.}

Was it yummy?
Oh my yes!  We ate all of this in record time, especially the fruit leather.  I really liked the additional flavor from the blueberries.

Will I do it again?
My son keeps begging to make more fruit leather.  Depending on our apple stash at the end of the month, we might make more.  At the very least, I will buy organic applesauce to make more fruit leather, because that stuff is expensive!

Anyone have other tips for me? New flavors I should try?


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