Homemade Applesauce – A Fall Harvest Treat


Homemade applesauce is one of our favorite treats here at the Bear Cave. But this year, our orchard was bare. A late hard freeze killed the new buds on our entire orchard. So, we did the next best thing to going out the back door and picking our own fruit. We drove across the valley to a great U-Pick organic apple orchard. They are the next best thing to our own apples.

       Organic Apple Tree
If it is impossible to grow your own fruit because you don’t have room, time, or inclination to maintain an orchard of your own, check out the local orchards. Benefits abound. You will be helping keep the local economy strong by shopping locally. You can see the fruit hanging luscious and ripe on the tree and know that your apples weren’t picked rock-hard green and ripened with chemicals such as ethylene or calcium carbide while being transported from around the world. The cost, economic and environmental, of transport is confined to your car on a local foray to the orchard. You and your friends, family, and certainly children, can enjoy a great outing. Local U-Pick is good for your health, your environment, and your kids. It doesn’t get much better than that.

      The Apple Cart Heads Home
Be aware that local organic apples may not look much like the waxy, shiny reds, yellows, and greens of the apples in neat rows at the grocer. Our experience with local U-Pick apples has been that they are smaller, not uniform in shape, have some bug bites on some of the apples, and just don’t appear as pretty as the commercial apples found in big box stores. So, think of the apple that tempted Snow White. It was pretty nasty inside, right? To be fair, some of the apples in stores are going to taste great. On the other hand, few will compare with the sweetness of a tree-ripened fruit, even if it’s a bit smaller. So you get generally great tree ripened taste and all the other benefits. What’s not to like?

       Sheep in the Orchard
At our local U-Pick orchard, we were treated to the extra special sight of a flock of sheep put out into the orchard to glean the fallen fruit. I don’t know that I’ve seen a more tranquil country scene than the sight of those sheep quietly munching their way along the rows of trees.  Snippets of Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze floated around in my head as I slowed my pace to that of the sheep and just relaxed into the picking. It was like active meditation.

On to the Applesauce!!

No fruit will last more than a few days in your kitchen fruit bowl. We prefer not driving a minimum of 20 miles, the distance to our closet market, every few days just for fruit, nor do we like commercially canned products. So we preserve our fruit and vegetables by canning, freezing, or drying. With apples, our favorite method of preserving is homemade applesauce made from local apples and frozen in quart freezer tubs.

Dave Larson
11/10/2011 7:54:51 AM

Hi Chuck, sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. Thanks for stopping by. We love the applesauce! Great on pancakes, oatmeal, or toast over peanut butter. If you want the richer apple butter, a taste I've loved for nearly 70 years, you can thaw out some of the applesauce and take the remaining steps to make some great cinnamony apple butter. Have a great time making apple sauce.

Chuck Mallory
11/1/2011 9:20:30 PM

What great info! It reminds me of going to the apple orchard when I was a child. My mom made "apple butter" (something many young people don't even know about now) but never applesauce. I want to try this soon.

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