Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Applesauce is Easy

Having just visited an orchard AND recently taken a canning class, I thought making applesauce would be an appropriate undertaking. Turns out making applesauce (aside from the chopping and the boiling process) is almost as easy as just buying it...and tastes a lot better.

For the applesauce: use 2.5 - 3.5 pounds of apples per quart jar. Most apples can be made into sauce: red delicious, golden delicious, pink lady, gala, fugi, or a mix.

Wash and slice the apples (do not use bruised fruit), removing the core. You can peel them, but it is not necessary. Place the slices in a food processor and grind into small chunks (the smaller the chunks, the smoother the sauce). Place the apples in a large pot on high heat and stir off and on. Bring the mixture to a boil, and mash if you want even smoother applesauce. Add sugar and/or spices if desired and stir continuously. After the applesauce is the correct consistency, transfer to jars (see canning instructions) and process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Canning Notes: Please note that depending on what you're canning, the instructions will change. I followed instructions found at

Make sure to sterilize your jars in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Fill a another small pot with water and bring to medium-high heat (don't boil). Add the lids and rims, and let them sit in the hot water until needed. Fill your canning pot with enough water to cover your jars by 1 0r 2 inches and bring the water to a boil. Take one jar out of the boiling water and fill with the applesauce, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Wipe the rim of the jar, cover with the lid, and screw on the rim (not super tight). Place the jar in the canning pot, and repeat the steps with each jar. After the last jar is added, let the jars sit in the boiling water for 20 minutes.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Butternut Squash and Potato Soup

This is a hearty soup, good for the fall and winter. Root vegetables are in season, so vary the combinations in this recipe according to what's available.
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash
  • 2 cups cubed, peeled russet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups sliced leek
  • 4 cups fat-free, sodium reduced chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the squash, potatoes, salt and pepper and saute for 3 minutes. Add in the leek and continue to saute for 1 minute. Stir in the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and then let simmer for about 20 minutes (unti the vegetables are tender), stirring occasionally. Pour half the mixture into a blender, leaving the small center piece of the lid off (to allow the steam to escape). Blend until smooth, then repeat with the other half of the mixture. If you're using half in half, stir that in and top with the chives for a garnish. This is good with crackers and cheese or bread. Makes about 8 servings. This recipe is from a Cooking Light magazine.