We were blessed with a colossal bounty of apples from a dear neighbor this year. Two five gallon buckets and a generous “There’s plenty more where those came from.”
Since I am running low on canning jars and really don’t want to purchase more this year, I decided on freezing a large batch of ready-to-go apple pie filling and canning just a couple of jars of apple sauce.
My husband and daughter helped me prepare the apples. Peel, core, and cut into large chunks. We filled a five quart saucepan to the brim and set on medium heat. I added just one cup of water because we like a thick (stay-on the spoon) texture to our apple sauce. We cooked for about 30 minutes until the apples were soft. I didn’t add any sugar because the apples are naturally sweet and delicious the way they are!
I used an immersion blender on high speed to blend the soft apples into a thick and tasty sauce. I processed the jars in a hot water canner for 35 minutes and they sealed perfectly.
Next we made crock-pot apple pie filling. It couldn’t be simpler. Just fill your slow-cooker to the brim with apples. Sprinkle cinnamon and dark brown sugar on top. I also used a very light pinch of Chinese five spice. It has cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, fennel, and ginger in it. (I know it sounds strange, but it really adds a great taste to pies!)
I let them cook on a low setting overnight. They were tender and not mushy in the morning. Next I let them cool to room temperature. Normally I would stop here and fill my freezer bags, but I decided to make a creamy apple filling for a change.
I made some rue out of real butter and flour. Then I added about 2 cups of milk with a tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in it. I added more cinnamon and brown sugar and cooked over medium heat for about 15 minutes. It made a nice creamy filling. Next I just poured over my crock pot apples and stirred to coat them very well. Then I filled a gallon sized zip-lock bag and popped it in the freezer.
1 five gallon bucket of apples will yield four large apple pies, and two quarts of apple sauce.
For the next bucket, I am thinking of other items that we can freeze for sweet tasty treats in the winter. Apple cake, apple fritters, apple bread, apple crisp, apple cobbler, apple dumplings…Any suggestions?
Popular apple sayings:
As American as apple pie: Americans may profess to have invented this quintessentially American dessert, but history books trace pie as far back as 14th Century England. Pie-making skills, along with apple seeds, came over with the Pilgrims, and as the country prospered the rather slim apple pie of colonial times became the deep-dished extravaganza we enjoy today. Through the 19th and early 20th centuries, apple pie became the symbol of American prosperity, causing one American newspaper to proclaim in 1902,“No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished.”
One bad apple spoils the whole bunch: First coined by Chaucer as, “The rotten apple injures its neighbors.”
Apple of my eye: This expression dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, when people conceived of the pupil of the eye to be, like the apple, a global object. The word itself comes from the Anglo-Saxon “aeppel”, which literally meant both “eye” and “apple.” In addition to providing the literal, vital sense of vision, the pupil was also regarded as the figurative “window” to the treasured secrets within each of us. Thus, the “Apple of my eye” meant someone very beloved.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away: Derived from the old English saying, “Ate an apple before going to bed, make the doctor beg his bread,” the original author of this most popular apple saying has been lost to history. Today, the expression rings truer than ever, as our knowledge of apples´ many and myriad health benefits increases.