Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Apple Smuncher

Each year, as leaves turn to gold and fresh pumpkins fill the market, boxes of apples appear like magic on our doorstep.This has been happening for more than a decade, and while our family loves to eat apples, two boxes is a lot.

Eventually, the time comes for the apples which are left to be made into applesauce.The process is a family affair, with everyone getting a turn at the Apple Smuncher.

It is properly known as the Nemco Easy Apple Corer N55550-8C. It can turn an ordinary whole apple into eight sections and a core in a matter of seconds.

Coordinated team smunching can power through apples at speeds of over 1000 an hour. It takes mere minutes for an entire box of apples to find its way into a stock pot.

Once the apples are cooked, the whole mess is run through our handy-dandy, fancy-schmancy Back-To-Basics food mill, and turned into applesauce. Not just any applesauce, mind you, but some of the best tasting applesauce around.

The secret, we've found, is to steam the apples with juice, not water, leaving a rich, full-bodied creation that has become a family favorite.

Our efforts yesterday yielded eight half-gallon bottles of the stuff. I've never canned with the 64-oz jars before. They were too big for our water bath canner, so we hauled out the pressure canner. This is the first time I've used that thing so close to sea level, (our last house was at 4500 ft) and it was great! 5 lbs of pressure built and, just as importantly, dissipated very quickly.

Unfortunately, there will be no Great Applesauce Giveaway on this blog as each jar weighs 5lbs 11oz. You'll just have to go find your own Apple Smuncher.


Tristi Pinkston said...

There's just nothing like home canned food. Beats the commerical stuff any time.

Okay, so, help me out here. I'm scared of using a pressure cooker. I've heard too many stories of them exploding. Do I need to be scared? Are they really simple and I've been avoiding them all these years for no reason?

Don said...

I absolutely LOVE our pressure cooker/canner. (It's a tool, so I'm allowed to say that, right?)

The old ones could have some problems, but anything even close to modern has all kinds of safety features. Ours has a metal-to-metal seal, so there's no gasket to fail. Also, there's a rubber plug that would pop out to relieve pressure before there was near enough to cause an explosion.

Steam burns are always a real danger, but easily avoided with the most simple precautions. And those aren't limited to pressure cookers, anyway.

C'mon, Tristi. Live dangerously!