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Besides eating hot dogs and watching fireworks this past 4th of July, I also spent some time picking apples with my daughter.  We use them to make applesauce.

 We grabbed some old Target(r) bags got to picking.

Believe it or not, the two apple trees at Double S Farms produce tons of apples and this was the last of many harvests this year. 

I have already made a batch of applesauce and my mother has been making apple butter like crazy.


 Some of you may be surprised to hear that apples grow in the desert.  Well, it is quite easy as long as you use a variety that needs low-chilling hours.  
Chill hours refers to the cumulative number of hours each year when the temperatures dip below 45 degrees.  In warm areas, you want to use varieties that have a low-chill requirement.
The apple trees on Double S Farms are the ‘Anna’ variety.  They are crisp, sweet and delicious.
  
As we got into picking the last of the apples, my mother’s dog, Addy, was on the prowl for any apples that we dropped, since she loves them.

You know what?  Apple trees are really the perfect size….

My daughter, Ruthie, was small enough to get into the smaller, interior areas.


While I could reach most of the apples up high.


Of course, apples taste best freshly picked, when they are ripe.  If you plan to store them for a while, it’s best to pick them a week before they are fully ripe. 
 After we finished picking, we had 4 large bags of apples. 

Perfect for making applesauce!
You can read my post about how I made applesauce here if you like 🙂


 
Have any of you picked apples from the tree before?
Or, do you enjoy cooking with apples?  
What do you make?
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For more information on what type of apples that do well wherever you live, check out this link.  Be sure to curse down a bit to see the listing of apple varieties state by state.

Nothing can beat the taste of apples freshly picked from the tree.  When I moved to the desert, I was surprised that apple trees could grow here.  I came to find out that most fruit trees not only can grow in our climate, but thrive.


This summer, my mother (Pastor Farmer) of Double S Farms, undertook the daunting task of teaching me how to can fruits.  We made peach jam together and I then made plum jam on my own.  You know, nothing quite beats the feeling you get when you have a row of freshly canned fruit that you have made yourself.  I am definitely getting hooked on canning.



Double S Farms has many different kinds of fruit trees, including two Anna’s apple trees.  They are prolific producers of apples and I couldn’t wait to make applesauce.


Another reason that I was looking forward to spending the day with my mother was that I have been with my kids 24 hours a day since school has been out for the summer and to be honest, I needed a small break.  Normally, I do go out on a few landscape consultations during the week, but when the summer heat arrives, people do not want to spend much time outside in the garden, so my business slows down and I am home much of the time.  Please don’t misunderstand me – I have great kids and I love them, but it was so nice to have a few hours away.

There are many recipes for applesauce available online – sweetened, unsweetened, with cinnamon, chunky, etc.  A good reference guide for canning any type of fruit can be found at this link.  

In order to make the applesauce, we first cut the apples into chunks.  You may notice that we did not peel the apples….we just removed the stem and end from each apple before we cut them up into chunks.


We added water and then cooked them until they were soft.


Then it was time to put them through the food mill.  *I have always wanted a food mill and had so much fun using my mother’s.  I really need to get one 🙂


Besides being very easy to use, the food mill kept all the apple peels and cores out of the pureed apples that fell into the bowl.  Peeling apples is not a favorite activity of mine, so it was so nice to skip this part.


In the foreground, you can see an old fashioned device which also worked well.  I am not sure what it is called, but it did work well.

While we were working, my two nephews came home from playing at the park.  They are always so much fun to play with.  Their new favorite books are my sister’s cupcake cookbooks.  They spend lots of time looking at all of the pictures and deciding which ones they are going to make.


*I have actually have used the first cookbook and had some great results.


Okay, back to making applesauce….

Once the apples were pureed, we added sugar and lemon juice.


Now back onto the stove for a few minutes to heat up.


It already looked so good, it was hard not to dip my spoon in and try some.

Next it was time to put it into jars, making sure that there are not air bubbles and add the lids.


 The last step…


Finished!


Now, I think it is time to make my Applesauce Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 🙂

**If any of you would like the recipe, please send me an email and I would be happy to send you the recipe for the cake.