Yesterday I tried something new in the form of canning applesauce. Of course I've made applesauce a time or two, but we've always eaten it right away. I've never made massive amounts and then preserved it either with freezing or canning. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the recipe I was using suggested use of a food mill, and it was also my first time using that. So I guess you could say it was a day for firsts, even if it was just for making lowly applesauce.

My recipe came from a new book I purchased this year from Cook's Illustrated.

And I'll just say right here and now that there are a lot of good cookbooks out there, but my go-to cookbook for anything I'm trying for the first time is almost always going to be published by Cook's Illustrated. They'll happily make something a hundred times or more to get the flavor just right before putting a recipe out there for publication, and so I trust them. Also, I like reading their process as they hone their recipe to their idea of perfection. Now, their idea of perfection isn't always going to agree with mine, but it's still a good place to start.

So my recipe started with 5 1/2 pounds of apples. Those were cored and then chopped, but not peeled. (The not peeling part was very appealing...ha!) To that I added 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, two cinnamon sticks and 4 cups of water. Pretty simple.

Then I cooked it for about 20 minutes until the apples were starting to break down. Then, I got out my brand spanking shiny new food mill...okay, and you know I just now had to see where that phrase "brand spanking new" came from. So, I checked with The Google, and the answer was very disappointing to me.

The phrase brand spanking new means to be entirely new or recently created, and was first recorded in 1860. It evolved from the compound word brand-new and the phrase spick-and-span. Also, spanking, while the main definition is to hit someone on the butt, can also mean to move quickly. So one might say that a brand spanking new object was created quickly or appeared very fast. In truth, no one knows quite how it was coined or what it originally referred to.

The Google has let me down with that "no one knows" bit. Wow. Adjusting my expectations now. Stand by...

Okay, regarding the food mill...you might want to fasten your seatbelt because what I'm just about to show you is going to knock you right out of your socks. That's how we roll here at Cat Patches...excitement every minute of every day. So here goes:

Here's my food mill. I told you it was shiny, and with a red knob any clown would covet.

First, I fished the cinnamon sticks out of the apple concoction, and then I loaded it into the food mill, and started cranking away.

Supposedly, this was going to puree the apples while simultaneously separating out the apple skins. I'll admit I had my doubts about this, but lookie there... 

and I had to do this in batches, obviously, because I had enough applesauce to feed a small army at this point. I kept pushing the skins under the blade, and they kept resisting by climbing up the sides of the mill. So then, I wondered if I should dump them into the sauce anyway. I tasted them and found them unpleasantly bitter, and so those went into the compost pail.

And in my bowl was all this lovely and tasty applesauce. It was fairly tart, and so I added just a tad more sugar. Then I dumped it back into the now-empty pot, brought it to a boil, and then loaded it into jars for processing.

My yield was 5 pints...about a pint per pound. Not bad. Man, oh, man...is it ever tasty.

I still have enough apples for two more batches, and I plan on giving Erik and Mae several jars since the apples are from their tree. Also, I'm going to bake an apple crisp for two with the remaining apples. We'll have that tonight.

So once I had my applesauce made, I headed into the sewing room to work on Sadie's pawtrait. This one is ever so challenging. It's challenging for the opposite reason that Scooter the dog was challenging. Sadie's fur has so little color uniformity, while Scooter's had so much. I keep reminding myself that the thread work at the end is what pulled Scooter's together, and so I'm trying to remain confident that Sadie's will come together too. Besides, I'm sure it will look like a cat...maybe just not my cat. Here's what I have so far: 

Smitty was helping me choose fabrics.

Mom...I think you need to consider your subject matter. Start with a good subject, and the art creates itself. Start with that little wag-a-muffin...I'm just sayin'.

So I worked on that for quite a while yesterday afternoon and then got dinner going. Our CSA shares are moving into the best part of summer. I made these Chicken Tostadas with Summer Vegetables earlier in the season. Now I'm making them with zucchini from our own plants and the sweetest CSA corn I've ever tasted. Also, I added some CSA green beans that I'd chopped into about half-inch segments, and I had some homemade salsa verde on hand. Dee-licious.

 This morning I finished up Block 14 for the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long. This one is "Bee Good".

After that, I headed out for my Friday morning walk with Sue. If you've been reading for a while, then you might be familiar with the Weenie Award. When one of us weenies out of our walk for some reason, we exchange the weenie award...a perpetual trophy for the weeniest between us. Well. Sue weenied out a couple of weeks ago because she had a cold. Then, last week, she weenied about because she'd sprained her ankle. She volunteered for a double weenie since she already had the trophy. I threatened to produce another so that she could actually have two weenies, as a sort of double-your-pleasure gesture. Then, Sue made her own double weenie and presented it to me...as a sort of "get out of jail free" card...twice.

Her sprained ankle turned out to be minor...for a sprained ankle...which is never minor. Nevertheless, she was able to walk today, although we both needed a short walk. My knee has been acting up from too much time on my feet while canning. It was pretty, however. We saw these cattails...which I happen to love.

This blooming grass glinting in the sunshine caught my eye. 

And as usual, there were the blooming things.

There were bunches of these little wildflowers growing by the side of the road, new ones to us.

According to the Like that Garden app...

When I got home, I iced my aching knee and then drew out Block 15 for the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long. This one is "Bee Courageous".

I'll get started on that tomorrow morning.

For today, I'm going to bake an apple crisp for two, do some watering, do a little housework, and then get back to work on Sadie's pawtrait. And there you go...you're all up-to-date...not that you were ever behind. But I was.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

n Carter said...

I'm glad you liked your applesauce. I have an old Foley food mill that I use for making it. Mine is all shiny metal - no red knobs for me! It works like a charm. I sometimes add butter to my applesauce. Not sure why; I just like butter. In everything! If you use apples with red skins you'll get a lovely pinkish applesauce. Yummy. I've never tried canning it though. I have a hard time not gobbling it up when I've just made it and it's warm. It's a Fall thing for me.

Colleen Yarnell said...

Your applesauce looks good. Mom and dad make chunky applesauce (uses a potato masher a bit) and freezes it in freezer containers. It is the best!

gpc said...

Yup, love that applesauce food mill stuff, but it IS exhausting work. We also use the food mill to make an unfiltered grape juice when the grapes are ready, I love it. Sadie will pounce out and surprise you when the thread work is done, I betcha. And much as I love flowers (and I love flowers), I might like grasses equally well. Lovely.

Teresa in Music City said...

Well, now that one humdinger of a machine! Your applesauce definitely looked good enough to eat - I love applesauce! Sadie's pawtrait is going to be amazing; you have the perfect fabrics to use. It's going to be very dramatic :*)

liniecat said...

The pawtrait is looking really good and brindle certainly must be a challenge, but then as you say the machine stitching will haul it all together.
Ive seen some scrappy textile cat pictures somewhere or other, deliberately colourfully mixed and they looked superb despite being clearly not a real cat colour and pattern.
Thry looked wonderful too.
Yours will be recognisably Sadie and her brindly extravaganza is part of her joy anyway.
Brindlies are every one, particularly unique after all!
Although for us cat people, all cats have a uniqueness of their own : )

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I have the old metal food mill - nothing shiny or with bright red knobs. I can see Sadie coming to life - great fabrics.

Dana Gaffney said...

Sadie's picture is coming along nicely, I'd be tempted to put a jungle around her at this point with that face peeking out. It always comes down to the details and the thread painting will pull it all together, she's tough but you can do this.

Wendy said...

I have my mother's (grandmother's?) food mill, which is a little different looking than yours. Aren't they amazing? We used them to can tomato sauce, if I recall correctly. Sadie's picture is coming along; can't wait to see it finished! Thanks for taking us along on the walk.

Dar said...

Yumm, your applesauce looks good and smells even better. I love cinnamon applesauce. I have a tomato separating machine that takes the seeds and skins one way and the pulp and juice the other. Wonder if it would do apple skins too. May have to try one day. Love what you are doing with your pawtrait. I think it may be the best one yet! On a different note, saw this on another blog and thought of you. Have you seen this place? http://mychellem.blogspot.com/2016/08/john-day-oregon-in-1974-and-hundred.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MichellesRomanticTangle+%28Michelle%27s+Romantic+Tangle%29

Doreen Auger said...

My old "Foley Food Mill" has been much used and probably is a vintage/antique now!!!! *sigh* I stopped using it as our family loves their applesauce super chunky! The "paw-tret" is lovely.....even as it is at the moment. Kind of a modern abstract. You certainly make good use of your CSAs!!!! Luv the "Weenie Award"...LOL! I have a fuchsia colored Weigela that our son gave me for Mothers' Day many years ago. So gorgeous.

quiltzyx said...

It's a good thing that I grabbed extra napkins before reading this episode of Appletime Adventures! The applesauce looks sooo good. Mmmmm.
Glad that you & Sue got to walk this week. But Double Weenie award - oh my!

Brown Family said...

That food mill is spiffy! I remember my Mom and Aunt having to press the cooked apples through a sieve! Not fun at all! Your applesauce came out beautiful! Thanks for keeping mu up to date! I am always a day late and a dollar short! hahaha

Your weenie award makes me think of an old song freom Girl Scouts, I know a Weenie Man. Now that will be in my head all day! giggle!

Kate said...

A very busy day. We love our subscription to Cook's Illustrated. When Drama Teen was doing her "new dish a week" project for physiology, she used a lot of recipes from the Cook's Illustrated baking cookbook. Those recipes are a great place to start. Hope you knee is feeling better.