Homemade Applesauce

>> Thursday, May 20, 2010

Organic apples were on sale at Kroger about a month ago for $1/lb, making them cheaper than I've ever seen organic apples and even cheaper than most conventional apples. So I bought 50 pounds.

I bought a Victorio strainer, a water bath canner, and a dehydrator off of Craigslist a few months ago, and this was my first time using them.

Third Son helped by eating apples.

Second Son helped by cutting apples with a special knife that my sister bought for him. I started out cutting and coring the apples, but after the first batch, I discovered that my strainer would remove all of the skin and seeds for me. Best Craigslist purchase ever!

Third Son took a stab at cutting.

The water bath canner was not the best Craigslist purchase ever. It doesn't seem big enough for quart jars (the jars are only covered by 1/2 inch or so of water instead of the 1 to 2 inches in the instructions), which is really weird since I bought about 50 quart jars from the same lady I bought the canner from. The processing still seemed to work anyway - judging by the ol' pressing on the lid test.

I used the instructions from Pick Your Own, and I do believe that for my first attempt at canning, the applesauce turned out pretty well.

Cost Summary

We used about 35 pounds of the apples for applesauce (the rest were dried) and got 10 quart jars worth. I think I could have gotten a little more than that if I had realized at first that I didn't need to cut and core the apples. I already had the jars and didn't need to buy new lids because the Craigslist lady gave me some for free. This puts my cost per jar at $3.50.

I'm actually not sure how much a jar of organic applesauce costs because I rarely buy it, but $3.50 still seems quite high to me. A little Google searching indicates that a lot of people buy conventional apples for $20 a bushel, or less than $0.50 a pound. Wowza!

Anyone know where I can find organic apples for cheaper than $1 per pound for next year's canning?

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6 comments:

Shona~ LALA dex press May 20, 2010 at 4:24 PM  

In the late summer/ early fall there are U-pick-em orchards that are less expensive + many are actually organic, but may not advertise since getting organic cert is fairly costly + for small farmers that's not in their budget (bla, bla, you know this bit already). We have a quarterly publication in Tenn. called Local Table (free at WF + most health foods stores) but I have seen other similar publications that list local farms + note if they don't use sprays, etc. I got 25lb for something like $15.00 at a local orchard.

I planted an apple tree last year, it's my understanding that it will take about 3 seasons to produce, but I'm hoping for apples galore because I love making my own applesauce.

twofroghome.com May 20, 2010 at 6:14 PM  

Lots of places will sell windfall apples for super cheap too. Look for those and be sure to ask local orchards if they sell windfall apples which are usually bruised but fine for applesauce.

Generally speaking one or two apple trees produce more than enough apples for a family. We got over 200 pounds of apples from our one tree and were happy to share and trade with other folks, we placed & answered ads on Craigslist and Freecycle.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper May 20, 2010 at 9:53 PM  

@twofroghome - Oh yes, I should definitely check Craigslist and Freecycle!

Amber May 22, 2010 at 12:54 AM  

I love-love-love canning. I generally buy the produce at my local farmer's market. You can usually get volume discounts. I've been doing my own preserving for a couple of years now, and I'm hooked. It was scary at first, but I've found it's much easier than I expected. And I feel really good about eating it.

I hope that you find an affordable source. Your prices actually sound super-cheap to me, but I'm in Canada, and things are just more expensive here.

82andsunny May 24, 2010 at 3:56 AM  

Maybe I've been buying food in Hawaii for too long-- I saw the total $3.50/jar and thought "Wowza that's cheap!"

Erin aka Conscious Shopper May 24, 2010 at 1:26 PM  

Amber and 82andsunny - You're making me feel a little better about the cost. I really need to check the price of organic applesauce the next time I'm at the grocery store.

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