I don't have an apple tree, but I do know people with them and I know one that owns an orchard and loves grape jam and pickled beets. And I have that to spare. So what do you get for a couple jars of jam and a jar of pickled beets? Two bushels of apples; quite a bargain barter!
He asked me what I wanted, I told him whatever would be good for applesauce. I got one bag of Sweet Sixteen (very sweet), 2 bags Cortland (very tangy and crisp), 1 bag Macks (very firm), 1 bag Honey Crisp (set those aside for fresh eating), 1 bag Chestnut Crab (very good, sweet, crisp apples - just the right size for a quick snack. Those I saved too), 1 bag Connell (good all around apple), and 2 mystery mixes.
I looked up a bunch of applesauce recipes and they all said that you needed a food mill. I didn't have a food mill, and wasn't going to be able to get one at 8pm on a Sunday night, so I winged it, as usual. I thought I might be able to press the cooked apples through my steamer basket, but then decided that I would just peel the apples instead and use an immersion blender. Worked perfect, except that peeling two bushels of apples is a pain in the butt!
Here's a tip to keeping the apples from browning while you're peeling all those apples: add some crushed vitamin C tablets to a bowl of water to keep the cut pieces in. The ascorbic acid in the C keeps the apples from browning.
The recipe is easy, just cored peeled apples, some water, and if desired: lemon juice, sugar and spices. Apples are high acid, so water bath canning is fine. The lemon juice option is just to maintain color. Some batches I sweetened, others I left plain. I used cinnamon and ginger for spices and dark brown sugar for sweetening.
My son assured me that these will not be around longer than a month. I'd better get more apples.BTW: the really dark jars are pickled beets.