|My great Grandma Allison is the lady in the center holding my second cousin Melanie.|
My Nanny Sensing (left) is holding me and the lovely lady on the right is my great aunt Macie holding my
second cousin Sonja.
One of my favorite "applesauce" memories is the fried pies my great grandmother, Grandma Allison (Minnie Belle Johnson Allison) made... she would spice up some applesauce with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves... mix up some pie crust dough and fry them in a cast iron skillet...Oh my... melt in your mouth goodness! Every family gathering, Grandma was requested (or perhaps demanded!) to bring her fried pies. I was fortunate to know my sweet little great grandma (she lived a long life and I was in my early 20s when she passed away). Grandma was a strong, amazing woman. I never knew Papa, my great grandfather, he passed away before my Mama was born and Grandma never remarried, living alone for many many years in the little cabin where she and Papa had raised their children. For a lot of years, she cut her own firewood, raised chickens, cooked on a wood cookstove, and worked her garden... once she finally slowed down a bit (probably in her 80s), the family tore down her little cabin and bought her a new mobile home where she contentedly spent the rest of her life. I loved that tiny, tough little woman dearly. Grandma came to stay with my brother, Jeff, and me when Mama was in the hospital having our little brother, Kevin. Our little blue tricycle got to missing and Grandma, holding my four-year-old hand and carrying two-year-old Jeff, scoured the neighborhood until she found our trike (Daddy had written our names on the metal seat, so we knew it was ours). She firmly requested the little bully to remove himself from our property (his older brother, hearing the firmness in her voice told him he'd better get off!), she retrieved our blue tricycle, and all was right in our toddler world again. She always wore her silver hair in a bun on the back of her head... one time when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, Grandma spent the night with us and had to sleep in my room with me. It was the first time I had ever seen her hair down, when she took the long hair down and brushed it out getting ready for bed... I remember being mesmerized with her beautiful, thick, long, silver hair.
I thought about Grandma Allison as I made applesauce recently, wishing I had paid better attention when watching her make those famous fried pies so I could reproduce them... I guess they'll have to remain a beloved memory.
Here's what I did...
I peeled and sliced 12 pounds of apples. LOVE my apple peeler/corer/slicer... it made short work of all those apples!
I sprinkled Fruit Fresh on the apples as I went along to prevent browning.
In a large stainless steel saucepan, I combined the apples with just enough water to prevent sticking. I brought them to a boil over medium-high heat. I reduced the heat and boiled gently, stirring occasionally until the apples were tender (this took about 20-30 minutes). I removed the apples from the heat...
...and, working in batches, transferred the apples to a food mill, pureeing until smooth (you could use a food processor for this step) I milled all of my apples because I was going for a smooth sauce... if you like your applesauce chunky, coarsely crush some of the apples, and puree the rest.
I returned the pureed apples to a saucepan and added 3 cups of sugar.
... and 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice.
I brought the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
I sterilized my pint canning jars in a flat pan of water set on two stove eyes.
I heated my lids and kept them hot until I was ready to use them.
I ladled the hot applesauce into the hot jars, leaving a half inch headspace.
I removed any air bubbles and adjusted the headspace, when necessary by adding more applesauce.
I wiped the jar rims...
...and, using my magnetic lid wand, removed them from the hot water and screwed the lids on to fingertip tightness.
I placed the jars in the canner, making sure they were completely covered with water, brought the water to a boil and processed the pint jars in the boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
I removed the jars from the canner after processing and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar.
I may not be able to reproduce Grandma Allison's fried apple pies... but with some of the sliced apples, I sure was able to make a mean apple crisp (yummy with vanilla bean ice cream!)