Homemade Applesauce Cups To-Go ~ For Just a Few Cents

Brace yourself for the cuteness. 

Homemade Applesauce Cups

Typically I make a boat load of canned applesauce each year. Still, there are always times I end up buying the little packaged applesauce cups to take on the road with us to soccer or basketball games. It feels so silly to spend money on the pre-made applesauce cups when I have home-canned applesauce in the pantry. Still, I do it. We need food for the road, after all.

This year, I got a brilliant idea. (My one and only of 2015. We’ve been waiting ten months for this.)

I checked online for little cups with lids to fill with applesauce to take on the road.

Small jars with lids work great for to-go applesauce, but those make our cooler weigh 380 pounds. Plus, I wanted to give some to Asa for his dorm fridge but didn’t want him to have to mess with saving all the jars to bring home. The cups with lids are a great solution!

~~Let us all pause here to say nice things about avoiding plastic and disposables in general. Plastic disposables are not our friend. I agree and I know there are strong opinions about this. Right now I’m the mother of many teenage boys who are active, hungry, and on-the-go frequently. It was either compromise and buy these plastic cups in an effort to save us money and help us eat well on the road – or spend more to buy them pre-made – or buy junk from concessions or McDonalds. I chose the plastic disposables and I am excited about what this provides for my family right now. Now, back to the cute applesauce cups.~~

Organic 100% fruit applesauce cups cost around 74¢ each. Non-organic are around 33¢ each. My homemade organic applesauce cups just cost me 15¢ each. This makes me very excited. Plus if it’s okay that I say so, my homemade applesauce tastes better than store-bought. :)

Applesauce Cups

This batch of applesauce turned out such a pretty shade of pink because I used a variety of dark red apples with very white flesh (Empire, I believe). No one who eats this can believe I didn’t add sugar. No need for sugar, my friends. Not when God made apples this good and sweet.

The cups with lids I chose are a perfect 5.5 ounce size. I filled them about 3/4 full, put the lids on top, then froze them. (I tested one to see if it froze/thawed well. It did. Now I have a freezer full!)

Next time we need travel food, we’ll grab several homemade applesauce cups from the freezer. I am so excited about this!

Homemade Applesauce Cups To-Go ~ For Just a Few Cents

Have any other good ideas to share for fun travel foods?

This post contains affiliate links.

Gratituesday: Apple Time

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At church yesterday, a dear friend stopped me to say, “Laura, if you want apples, I’ve got a tree full. Come help yourself!”  And so, as soon as we got through the majority of our school work today, three boys and I headed out with bags and boxes. Below, you will see a big apple tree…and three sets of legs.

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We didn’t have much time, but the four of us picked fast and furious. Within a half hour, we had 2 big fruit boxes and 5 paper grocery sacks filled!

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You can guess what I’ll be doing the rest of this week.  Applesauce, apple pie filling, apple crisp – oh yeah. Our house will be smelling good. Our Victorio will be getting a workout. Our cinnamon supply will dwindle.

What a blessing to be supplied with so many apples. Having the chance to pick them with my boys on a bright sunny day was glorious!

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday? Leave a comment to share!

21 Healthy Fall Recipes

Feeling spicy? As in – do you have plenty of cinnamon on hand? You’ll need it after you look through all the recipes in this post.

While I think about food year-round and enjoy all the different flavors each different season brings, I have to say that there is something so exciting about Fall Recipes. It must be the cinnamon, and the warm drinks, and the comfort that comes along with all of these flavors – not to mention the anticipation of upcoming holidays.

Today I compiled 21 of my favorite fall recipes. If you don’t have pumpkins or apples around – you’ll need to go get some. And I believe we already covered the need for cinnamon….

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1. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

2. Apple Pie with Whole Wheat Crust

3. Warm Pumpkin Custard

4. Pumpkin Pancakes

5. Applesauce Bread

6. Cinnamon Apple Toast

7. Mini Apple Pies

8. Sweet Potato Streusel Muffins

9. Apple Crisp

10. Cream Cheese Apple Dip

11. Hot Caramel Sauce

12. Peanut Butter Apple Cookie Bars

13. Pumpkin Pie Pecan Squares

14. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

15. Pumpkin Pie with Whole Wheat Pie Crust

16. Multi Grain Pumpkin Waffles and Pancakes

17. Crock Pot Apple Butter

18. Apple Pie Filling

19. Apple Fruit Leather

In addition, you’ll definitely want to check out these tutorials:

20. The Easiest Way to Make Homemade Applesauce

21. How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin (To Make Pumpkin Puree)

Now your turn. What are your favorite fall recipes?

Confessions of an Applesauce Maker

I’m not making any applesauce this year.  Not even a little bit. As much as I love making and preserving applesauce for my family, and as easy as it is to make applesauce with my Victorio – I am very happy to take the year off from this endeavor.

Why am I not making applesauce? Because I counted up jars I have leftover from the stash I made last year, and I found that I have plenty of applesauce to last us through the winter. I don’t need any, so I’m checking that task off my list. Yay!

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For those of you who don’t have a pantry full of applesauce, I did want to remind you of what I learned last year:  Making applesauce with a Victorio is by far the easiest method I’ve found.

So how about you? Are you making applesauce this year?

I Should Become a Victorio Salesman

I think I might just do it.

I love the Victorio Food Strainer so much that I may just go into business. I’ll pack a bunch of apples and tomatoes into my kids’ wagon, then I’ll go door to door, demonstrating to everyone I meet how wonderful the Victorio is for making applesauce and tomato sauce. I’ll show everyone how easy it is to set up, how much time it saves in making these great sauces, and how lovely the finished product is. Once they see it, they will hug me and thank me for sharing this invaluable kitchen tool. Then they will excitedly begin chopping some apples so that they too can easily make applesauce in their brand new Victorio.

It will be beautiful. Can’t you just picture it?

Sure, some will be skeptical. They will say to me, “Thanks anyway, but I already know how to make applesauce. It’s easy. You just have to core the apples, cook them, then run them through a blender.”  And then I will tell them that as easy as that is, using the Victorio makes the process even easier and saves even more time! And I will add some exclamation marks to the end of my sentence because of how much time this will save them.   !!!!!!!

Yes, it just might be my new career. But first, I’ve got to finish using my Victorio in my own kitchen to make my own tomato sauce and apple sauce…

This message was brought to you by the Heavenly Homemaker after quickly and excitedly finishing a delicious batch of tomato sauce.

Victorio Food Strainer and Sauce Maker – Best Investment Ever for Homemade Applesauce and Tomato Sauce!

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I’ve always known all of you were smart. You’ve proven it to me once again.

Last year, while I was making applesauce and experimenting with ways to make the process easier, many of you suggested that I get a Victorio Food Strainer. Before that day, I had never even heard of this gadget. And I’ll admit, I really questioned – would a Victorio really make the process of making applesauce go any faster? I mean, there are apple cores and bad spots to deal with. No matter how easy the process, you still have to prepare the apples. I’m usually dealing with several bushels of apples at one time. It takes time. It takes work. There’s no way around it.

Or is there? (There is! There is!)

I’m so excited after making 13 quarts of applesauce yesterday, I could do flips. And guess what? Since I invested in a Victorio, I still actually have the energy to do flips! (Not that I can or will. I’m not that coordinated.)

But it’s true. The Victorio DID made the applesauce making process much faster and easier. Like hours easier. I can’t believe how much time I saved compared to how long it used to take me to make applesauce.

I’ve tried all kinds of methods of making applesauce:

Yes, I’ve been making applesauce for years, using all varieties of methods to save myself time.  This is why I feel like I have a leg to stand on when I say that using a Victorio Food Strainer is by far the easiest, fastest, most efficient way to make homemade applesauce – especially if you are making large amounts! (I’m also very sure this is going to save time while I make tomato sauce, though I don’t have enough tomatoes ready yet to give it a try.)

With the Victorio, you wash the apples, halve or quarter them, cook them down, then run them through the Victorio. You don’t core them. You barely touch them. My hands didn’t even turn brown – and I did loads of apples!! And this is why I want to turn flips.

Here’s a picture of what my new toy looks like:

I even figured out how to put it together all by myself. Aren’t you impressed?!

Here’s a little tutorial to show how easy this process was. You wash your apples (or in my case, you ask your children to wash the apples while you are working on other jobs in the kitchen).

You halve or quarter your apples and put them into a big stock pot. I simply halved mine since they were small.

Add a little water to the pot to keep the apples from scorching, then you cook them for 15-25 minutes until they are soft (while you go do something else!). Then you run the soft apples through your Victorio.  The process barely even challenged my arm muscles it was so easy.

All the core and skin comes out the shoot, leaving bowl after bowl full of beautiful, smooth applesauce.

I had enough applesauce yesterday that after we all ate as much as we wanted, I canned 13 quarts using the water bath method. Awesome!

The jars are still sitting on my countertop so that I can admire them for a little while longer before putting them away. You know I always have to do that right? ;)

I have to say that the Victorio Food Strainer was a wonderful investment. Anything that saves me time in the kitchen, especially during the fall season when all the garden produce threatens to overtake my kitchen, is a life saver. It is very reasonably priced for such a handy appliance.

Do you have a Victorio? Do you love it? Do you want to turn flips with me over how great this thing is?

Leaving the Skins on Homemade Applesauce and Apple Pies

Slowly but surely I’m getting a few things figured out with this applesauce-making business. Many of you left comments sharing that you were shocked that with all the canning I do, I don’t have a Victorio. Others were shocked that I take off the apple skins. Yep, I’m just learning along with the rest of us here. I didn’t grow up doing any canning, so I’m learning as I go. I’d never even heard of a Victorio or a Squeezo before last week, so I’ve appreciated your ideas and suggestions!

Since I don’t have a Victorio strainer, nor do I know anyone who has one I can borrow, and since I’ve got apples that need to be put up right now, I went ahead and tried yet another applesauce method. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner! (I think we will probably end up investing in a nice strainer, especially for tomato sauce. But for apples, can you all reassure me that the bad, wormy parts in the apples really do get strained out?  I’m still hesitant about that since the apples I work with aren’t always pretty once I cut into them. Really – do I just quarter them and throw them all into the pot, worms and all?)

This time, I followed the advice of leaving the skins on and blending them up along with the apples. I hesitated with this idea at first because I figured there would be little bits of apple peelings in the sauce and that my family would rebel. Well, what’s a mother to do, but to try the idea and not tell her family what she’s done?

Sure enough – I cooked my apples, ran it all through my food processor, served it up, and would you believe – not one boy or husband knew that there were apple peelings in the applesauce!

Not only did this method save lots of time, we’re getting a healthier applesauce. Plus, there was much less waste – so I got several more quarts of applesauce for my efforts!! Ahhh, I’m so happy about this.

Applesauce Instructions:

Quarter and core apples, cutting out bad spots. Cook apples in a large pot, following these directions. When the apples are soft, run them through a food processor until smooth. See, the peelings just get blended up in there! (I don’t have an immersion blender, but according to many of you, sticking the immersion blender directly into the pot saves yet another step. I may ask for one for Christmas.)  :)

I used some of my “special” jars this time, because this applesauce is so pretty. These jars came from my late friend Lorna Mae. I miss her. :(  I think she’d be thrilled that her jars are being put to good use for my family.

I also made a bunch of mini apple pies, a big apple pie and an apple crisp – all with apple skins left on. I may never peel another apple again.

 

So there we have it. Leaving the skins on the apples when making applesauce and apple pies saves time and adds nutrients. Now, on to the Apple Butter…

Healthy Homemade {Pink} Applesauce

For years, I’ve used this method of making applesauce. The past couple of years, I’ve decided to try something new, in an effort to cut down on preparation time and to make the homemade applesauce a bit healthier. Still, I have to say, this process still takes quite a bit of time and effort. After spending several hours making applesauce yesterday and only yielding five quarts – I felt a little bit discouraged. Several of you have mentioned that a Victorio Food Strainer is a worthwhile investment. After looking into this, I have to say that Matt and I are talking seriously about making the purchase. Check out this pretty tool. Does that not look like a life saver when making applesauce and tomato sauce?

Here is a run-down of yesterday’s applesauce process:

We used a mixture of apples, most of which had very dark red skin (Empire, I think). Cooking the apples with skin on created a lovely pink colored applesauce. To start, we gave the apples a good washing. I looked around for the cutest assistant I could find. Since everyone else was busy with math and vocabulary lessons, Malachi got the job.

While he was washing apples (about 18 pounds), I prepped my huge stock pot. I stirred 2 heaping tablespoons of Vitamin C Powder (ascorbic acid to keep the apples from turning brown) into 5 cups of water.

Then, I began to quarter and cut out all yucky parts. These apples were mostly organic (he had sprayed a little bit early on before the fruit set on), so there were some wormy parts to cut out. As I added apples, I stirred them around so that they would be coated with the ascorbic acid/water to  keep them from browning.


I continued this process until my pot was full and until my right hand was cramped permanently into a claw-like position.

I then cooked the apples on the stove for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until they became nice and soft.

Next I blended the apples in my Blendtec, careful to dip down to the bottom of the pot to get some of the juices with each scoop. I blend until the peelings are completely pureed along with the flesh of the apples. This makes the applesauce pretty and creamy!

Applesauce Cups

I ended up with smooth, beautiful, delicious applesauce that my family had seconds and thirds of at lunch time.

I then canned four remaining quarts (using this water bath process for 20 minutes) and put them into my pantry.

What do you use to make applesauce? I highly recommend the Blendtec to make this process super easy! (I also love the Blendtec for oodles of other kitchen tasks.)

I have yet to make apple butter or any of the other tasty apple dishes I talked about earlier this week. I do believe that next I will experiment with my crock pot and apple butter. Which means that I really need to make some whole wheat biscuits. Doesn’t apple butter spread on a hot, fresh biscuit sound wonderful?

A Week of Apples

I have a grand total of 110 pounds of apples in my kitchen right now. You know what this means don’t you? Yes, it means that by the end of this week my fingers are going to look brown and dirty. And they’ll stay that way for about two weeks until the brown wears off. It’ll be really cute and not at all embarrassing (as long as I keep my hands stuffed into my pockets while out in public).

Oh, and if I don’t wear an apron while I’m working with all of these apples, the front of my shirt will also be covered in brown splatter stains, which will never come out. I learned this the hard way a few years ago when I made applesauce all day, while wearing a cute Disney shirt, before going to a soccer game. I completed the task of making applesauce, ran it through the water bath process to can it and put the jars away in my pantry. I didn’t look down at my shirt until I was at the soccer game that night cheering for my boys. It was then that I noticed that Eeyore was completely covered in ugly brown specks. (Of course, it had to be Eeyore.)  I was by far the most pitiful looking mother out at the soccer field that day. Of all days to leave my jacket at home.

So now you know:  While you peel, core, slice and chop apples – the juice will spit and splatter everywhere. If you work on 110 pounds of apples, everything around you, including every crevice on your hands, will turn brown for days.  There’s not much you can do about this, so just embrace the fact that you’ll look like you’ve been working under the hood of your car. To avoid answering any difficult-to-answer questions from the powers that be, remove all school papers, bills, library books, and photos before proceeding. And for the love of Eeyore, please wear an apron.

My 110 pounds of apples await, and I guess it goes without saying that my apron is ready for action. Here’s what I’m looking at doing this week:

I’ll start by making and canning as many jars of Applesauce as I can make before I get sick of making applesauce. I will probably be using a slightly different method than the one described here, so I’ll give an update on that sometime during the week.

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If, in fact, I still have a few pounds of apples left after making applesauce, I hope to then make a few Mini Apple Pies. These are great to have in the freezer for a quick breakfast or dessert.

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I may also can a few jars of Apple Pie Filling. This is great to have on hand to when throwing together a quick apple crisp or of course, to make a big apple pie. Here’s my Whole Wheat Pie Crust recipe if you’re interested.

Malachi_apple_pie_1

I may also use my Excalibur Food Dehydrator and make Apple Fruit Leather and/or dried apple rings. When you have 110 pounds of apples, you can just keep going with the apple preserving until you’ve got a wide variety of apple goodies, or until you faint onto the floor of your kitchen – whichever comes first. Don’t worry – I plan to get my boys busy helping me with these projects this week. They are great applesauce makers.

We also plan to simply eat a bunch of these apples. I love having so many apples on hand for snacks. If you haven’t tried making Caramel Apple Dip, I highly recommend it. It’s one of my favorite ways to eat apples.

Throughout the week, I’ll be snapping pictures and sharing my apple preserving progress. Prepare to get sticky around here. I might even experiment with Apple Butter like several of you requested last week!

What is your favorite way to eat apples? Ever ruined an Eeyore shirt with apple spatters? This is why aprons were invented.

 

Gratituesday: Hard Work Tastes Good

Remember all the abundance of produce that I was tripping over last fall and trying very hard to appreciate? All the canning and preserving we do during August and September (in the midst of soccer season) is overwhelming at times. We know we’re doing it for our family’s health and to save money…but it really is a lot of hard work!

But now that it’s (almost) February? Now THIS is why we work so hard in the fall!!

Everytime we run out of applesauce, we go to the pantry. Each time I decide to make spaghetti or pizza? We get out a jar of sauce. We’ve enjoyed many a grilled cheese sandwich with homemade tomato soup. We’ve got a great supply of salsa left. We have canned peaches to eat in cottage cheese for a quick and easy snack. Our supply of frozen green beans and corn is holding up just fine, and we haven’t been holding back.

Healthy food doesn’t get much easier than this.

All that hard work back in the fall? It was SO worth it.

Remind me of this post in September when I’m again overwhelmed and tripping over boxes of apples and tomatoes.

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday? Write about it on your blog, then come link up with us here. If you don’t have a blog, be sure to leave a comment letting us know what you’re grateful for!

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please copy and paste the following sentence into your post! Thanks!


Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!