I just can’t express how much I’m looking forward to Fall – even though it will present it’s own set of challenges for our little tribe.
The weather is FINALLY starting to cool down (kind of). The early mornings are so foggy here that we can’t even see the pad where the house will go from the bus windows. Even though it warms up toward the afternoon, the high 80 to low 90 degree temperatures are a cakewalk compared to the 100+ degree heat wave we were having. I actually put on pants today – PANTS! Can you believe it?
Along with appreciating the cooler weather, I am really, really, really looking forward to the end of this pregnancy. Just five more weeks and I will be able to walk and breathe and not have to clamber down a ladder three times a night. I get a little giddy just thinking about it.
Additionally, we should have our new contractor picked out by the end of this week, so things will also be able to start moving along with the building process… but I’ve been saying that last bit for about two years now, so we’ll see how it goes.
Of course, like I said, it’s a tradeoff of challenges.
With the cooler weather comes less sun and more rain (in theory), and although California desperately needs to end this drought we’re in, as someone trying to build a house and running completely off solar power I’m of two minds about the whole thing.
Plus, of course, the end of this pregnancy also means the arrival of a newborn. Given the choice I will take the challenges of a baby over being pregnant with relish, but it’s still kind of an unknown as to how things will work out in the bus. I don’t foresee any humongous problems to overcome… but you never know.
With the new baby AND the holidays AND the beginning of the building process coming up, we’re also looking at a whole slew of potential expenses as well. So. There’s that.
REGARDLESS, I am choosing to welcome the coming months with open arms and what better way to celebrate than by making applesauce? Our neighbor’s tree was overwhelmed with fruit and they passed a couple of bushels onto us. Actually, I don’t know exactly how much a “bushel” is, so it probably wasn’t quite that much… or maybe it was more… either way, this was just one batch:
Our neighbors also offered the use of their applesauce maker, which is a lot like THIS one.
They raved about how easy it was to use because you don’t have to peel or core the apples, you just cut them up a bit, cook them until they’re soft and then process them through the machine. It spits out all the undesirables and leaves you with the smooth, delicious pulp.
I took them up on their offer and made about a quart of sauce that way. It was definitely smooth and delicious: you could have slapped a Mott’s sticker on it and nobody would have known the difference.
However, I had a couple of qualms with that system.
For one thing (and this is probably just because I have the coordination and upper body strength of a drunk squirrel), it was not super, crazy easy to process the apples through the machine. The whole ensemble was bolted on with a vice to a thick cutting board, but the board kept sliding all over the counter and I couldn’t figure out how to hold the whole things still and simultaneously turn the handle. I’m sure there was an easier way… I just never found it.
Secondly, it was kind of a hassle to clean up afterwards. That sucker has a LOT of parts, and not all of them were easy to clean (I’m looking at you, conical-shaped sieve… thingy). 35 weeks along comes with a whole new level of laziness than just my normal brand, so that just wasn’t going to fly.
Thirdly, one of the healthiest parts of an apple is the fiber in the peel and it just seems shameful to discard it with those cyanide-laden seeds.
I remembered that I had read a post about No-Peel Applesauce at Amy’s Finer Things a while ago and I always though that it sounded right up my alley (see above re: lazy). So, I gave it a go.
After washing the apples in the sink (see above photo), I cut them into smallish chunks .
Note: This was the second batch of no-peel sauce that I made – the first time I simply quartered them around the core, but the chunks of peel were bigger than Noah and the kids found palatable, so this time I just made the chunks smaller. I believe in Amy’s tutorial, she uses a hand blender to make the peels disappear completely into the sauce, but I don’t have one.
For whatever reason, peeling a million apples is akin to the seventh circle of hell for me, but dicing a million apples is, meh, not so much. Finn and Em helped by putting the chunks into the pot for about ten minutes until they got bored and ran outside to play.
I will have you know that the pumpkin the background was actually NOT placed there for aesthetic purposes (it was given to us from another neighbor’s garden months ago)… but look how harvest-y we are!
I added a couple of inches of water to the pot (I made the mistake my first try of adding too much water and had to drain some out… which is difficult to do with a large, steaming stew-pot and a big, pregnant belly) and cooked it on high with the lid on for about twenty minutes until the apple chunks were super soft.
Then the kids and I took turns mashing it all up with a potato masher, and this was the consistency of the final product:
I added a little cinnamon and brown sugar (some lemon juice probably wouldn’t have been amiss, but all we grow are limes) and then afterwards all I had to do was clean out the pot.
And, of course, sit in the kitchen alone eating an entire pot of full applesauce by the spoonful.
Have you ever made No-Peel Applesauce before? Did you know that such a thing existed?! Or do you think it sounds pulpy and gross? Do tell.