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Canning Applesauce Off-Grid

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Delicious and sweet is the applesauce, as well as the good time we share making it!

We recently made applesauce from apples my parents brought down from Michigan. This is our annual fall tradition, but last year we missed out because we were in the middle of moving here to our new off-grid homestead (can you believe it’s been nearly a year!?!). That means this is the first time we’ve made applesauce or done canning off-grid. Not that it was much different than before, but since we don’t have a big freezer like we used to, we decided to can most of it this time.

In our opinion there is nothing better than applesauce we make ourselves! If we could we would have some with every evening meal, but we were not able to make enough for that this time, and will be happy to enjoy it once every two weeks or so after almost a whole year without any.

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Cutting the washed apples in half

Our process is simple: wash the apples, cut them in half, and cook them in large waterless stainless steel pots till they are soft. Waterless cookware is better because it takes only about 4-6 oz of water in the bottom of an eight quart kettle to do the job. This means it doesn’t take as long to heat them as it would if the kettle would be full of water, and the nutrients are not leached from the apples as when they are cooked in all that water.

When the apples are soft enough to easily poke them with a fork we start running them through the Victorio strainer, which separates the pulp from the sauce. I love this because we never have to core or peel our apples! I found my Victorio strainer at a thrift shop last year for a great bargain, but it was missing the wooden plunger, so I found another wooden gismo at Goodwill to take its place. Now I don’t have to borrow my grandma’s old Victorio stainer from my mom every time we make applesauce.

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

The Victorio strainer

With the freshly squeezed sauce we add in some raw honey and a little cinnamon. Meanwhile someone must be on guard to make sure it doesn’t all get eaten before it’s packed away. :)  We love it half frozen, but with limited freezer space we put some in the freezer and canned the rest. We processed about two and three-quarter bushels of apples and ended up with 37 quarts of applesauce.

Last year I also found another canner at a thrift store, so now I have the ability to can more at one time, which is a blessing when canning for eight. A cooking range inside and outside also came in quite handy. The inside one is for use in cooler months, and the one on the deck is to keep the heat out of our tiny house when it’s hot. We had both ranges going at once, one for cooking apples and one for canning the jars of applesauce. With our big table on the deck and our “dogtrot” breeze flowing through it was quite a pleasant place for the operation with plenty of space for all of us to work.

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

It was roomy and breezy on the deck

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Two canners cut the canning time in half

I had six eager helpers. We don’t make applesauce every day, so it’s a novelty. Everyone had to take turns cranking the Victorio strainer because too many wanted to do it at once. What a blessing!

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Taking turns and working together

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Preparing the canners

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Cranking and dipping

In the middle of making applesauce the generator began having fits. Our big generator is getting its internal governor fixed (whatever that is!) so we are using our little back-up generator which we purchased 13 years ago. It has seen better days and we jokingly refer to it as the one that uses as much oil as gas. Sure enough, after running about four hours it needed more oil. I sent Evenstar out to do the job so I could keep the applesauce process running smoothly.

Evenstar was battling the generator when I suddenly heard her hollering for help! Water was gushing from somewhere off the back of our house. Oh no!! Did the plumbing from the tanks on the roof burst? Or had a tank sprung a bad leak? I raced back there to discover that the plug on the water filter going to the house had broken loose. I stuck my thumb in to stop it temporarily while Evenstar climbed up to close the valves from the tanks to stop the flow (I’m a “chicken” when it comes to climbing up there, but Evenstar doesn’t mind a bit, fortunately). For about 45 minutes we had no water while I took the filter apart, cleaned it, whittled down a cork to plug the hole and reinstalled it, all the while trying to keep the applesauce rolling. Fortunately we had some clean rain water collected and some water already in a tub that we were using for canning so we had water to work with.

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

The finished product...yum!

In spite of the trials the last of the mess and dishes were washed up by 4pm. I suppose the biggest differences doing applesauce off-grid were issues during the process, like fixing the generator and water leak. But hopefully next year’s applesauce episode will run smoother as things get set up more efficiently.

Canning Applesauce Off GridBlessings,

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

Linked w/Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country Living, Natural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

Canning Applesauce Off Grid

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26 Responses to “Canning Applesauce Off-Grid”

  1. michelle says:

    I have one of those machines. I love it. It is also great for making tomato sauce.

  2. Ivylover says:

    I just did applesause with ladies from our church… all together 7 bushel were done in half a day with not all ladies present at one time. It was great next year they are talking about getting a skid of apples (20 or so bushel) and maybe doing corn as well.
    Hey, I also noticed the matching aprons!! did you all make them?

    • Rose Petal says:

      That is great making applesauce with a gang like that. What a way to work together and fellowship at the same time!

      I did not make the aprons, but Silver Oak’s mom gave them to us last Christmas! It’s fun to match!

  3. Ivylover says:

    By the way we used an airpowered drill to turn the V Strainer :) Something that’s common to have in the amish setting.

  4. jane says:

    Great article! I want to can apple pie filling this week.

  5. Natalie says:

    I will have to keep an eye out for one of those Victorio Strainers. I always have to peel and core all my apples when I make our applesauce, and even with help that is always a big job. Thanks for sharing.

    • Rose Petal says:

      This machine takes so much of the work out of it. I think another brand is Squeezo. I believe the newer Victorio strainers are made by a different company than the old ones by that name my grandma used. The older ones were all metal, and the newer ones have more plastic parts. The one I have is mostly metal, but does have a plastic hopper and auger, which both work fine.

  6. Thank you for linking up with the Clever Chicks this week! Way to overcome the generator drama!

  7. ~mel says:

    How nice that you have so many helping hands! I made sauce this year too and considered myself quite fortunate to do so because the apple harvest was terrible this year. I did end up with 28 pints. I have one of those strainers; but never thought of using it for applesauce – I use mine for tomato sauce. I used the old fashioned colander and wooden pestal to do mine. I’ll have to remember my tomato strainer next time. P.S. LOVE the aprons!

  8. Looks like a fun time. I’m going to make some more applesauce today, from the last of the apples from our two trees.

    • Rose Petal says:

      Lucky you, with your own apple trees! There are Florida varieties that we hope to try planting this year if possible. Don’t know what they will be like. Happy applesauce making!

  9. Carol says:

    Wow! You are one active woman ~ Applesauce looks delicious and such self sufficiency ~ very creative world you live in ~ (A Creative Harbor) ^_^

  10. Heidi says:

    Hello Rose Petal!
    You have a great team of helpers there. I am sad that the water filter hose and generator gave you all some trouble, but as usual, you guys always adapt and overcome any challenge. Thank goodness fro brave young souls like Evenstar too, to tackle heights. Yikes. Your applesauce jars look wonderful. I pray you have another blessed weekend and I want you to know that I enjoy reading about your family and your off grid success. You are my heroes. Way to go!

    p.s. Wow! Almost a year already. Time sure flies…

    • Rose Petal says:

      Thanks for your continued encouragement through this past year, Heidi. A big post with lots of pictures summarizing this past year is coming up soon!

  11. What a fun adventure! I’ve got some apples hanging out in my sunroom that need to be made into sauce. I wish I had one of those great machines! I think I’ll just start an assembly line with the kids…ha!

    Mrs. Sarah Coller

  12. I love my Victorio! It is the original that I cranked when I was a kid (I’m in my 40′s!) I found one at a rummage sale for $2 this summer and was excited, because our clamp was not working right anymore! I’m a little jealous of your off-grid living, but not quite brave enough myself!

  13. Your applesauce looks amazing Rose Petal! So neat that the whole family is involved! :) I don’t even know how I would ever entice my son to participate!