Monday, November 18, 2013

Baked Applesauce

Trying something new - Baked Applesauce!

We have an abundance of apples this year. Due to late spring frosts, our trees had not produced in two years, so they were primed and ready when conditions were right. We have picked hundreds and hundreds of apples. I don't have enough friends to give away all the apples that we have. I am down to three five gallon buckets of this season's crop. I have made a ton of applesauce on the stovetop, but was experiencing some pretty serious hand cramping from all that peeling!

While I was waiting for my son to get his haircut the other day there was a little blurb in a magazine that said you could bake whole, unpeeled, uncored apples in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour. After that hour, let them cool and the peel will come off and the core will slide right out. 

My sore hands were delighted at this possibility, so I tried it. 

First I washed several dozen simalarly sized fresh garden apples and placed them on baking sheets with a deep edge. Mine were a little bruised here and there, so I took some time to cut out the bad spots. I squeezed a few little apples into the gaps in the pan. After that was accomplished, I baked them at 350 degrees for one hour. 

When they came out they looked like this:

Not very attractive, but expected. Upon cooling they actually shrunk down a little. 

Now for the highlight! Sliding off the peel and pulling out the core! Woo Hoo! No messy work! 

Well, unfortunately, that is not how it went. Yes, the peel pretty much came off, but with good apple still attached. No, the core did not just pull out of the apple with the peel. I had to smoosh (for lack of a better word!) the baked apple off the stiffer center with a knife. An oopy, goopy time consuming mess. 

This was the pile off the first pan of apples:

 I peeled them into the pan I cooked them in to save all the juices that baked out during the cooking process. When I had both pans of whole apples out of their peels and off the cores, I dumped the apple mush and juices into a container and smashed out any lumpy spots with a potato masher. 

This is the final product: 

The two pans created about 14 cups of applesauce. I did not add sugar, but did add cinammon. I found the end result to be a little bit stringier than stovetop applesauce. 

My final thoughts on this process? The way I have always done it is actually easier than baking the apples. If I could find my apple peeling/coring aparatus it would certainly make my life much easier than peeling by hand, but hand peeling is no more work than it was to clean the apple meat out of the baked apples.