Making applesauce and tomato sauce

Have you ever washed, cut, and cooked apples, put through juicer strainer with a large tea strainer on pan to drain juice from pulp? It makes thick applesauce, and apple butter. Season and can. Then I can juice. Not as much cooking time this way. I do the same thing with tomatoes.

Peggy Wilburn
Macon, Georgia

No, I haven’t done that. What I do is use my Mehu Liisa steam juicer to extract about a quart of juice from my washed, cut apples, then use that for jelly or apple juice. Then I just run the remaining pulp through my old Victorio tomato strainer which gives me nice thick pulp in one bowl and peels in the other. The pulp is then either canned as applesauce or mixed with sugar and spices to make my apple butter. With the tomatoes, I use the Mehu Liisa to steam the tomatoes. Like the apples, I extract about a quart of tomato broth (it doesn’t look like tomato juice; it’s yellowish and watery but makes great soup base), then dump the tomatoes into my Victorio and crank out thickened tomato sauce. Both are quick and easy. — Jackie

Storing fresh carrots

I was wondering why you can your carrots instead of just storing them in your basement like the potatoes and onions?

Elizabeth Seymour
Whitefish, Montana

We do store some carrots for using fresh during the winter. But we grow so many that I always can up a lot. First, it is very convenient to have jars of pre-cooked carrots to use as a quick side dish or to dump into a roast. Secondly, they keep, when canned, nearly forever — unlike the fresh stored carrots. Finally, you just never know what next year is going to bring; a bad gardening year, sickness, injury (like when Will and I fell off the barn roof) or whatever “emergency” situation should happen. So I can’t always depend on just growing more next year to store fresh. This is why I also can up some potatoes and dehydrate my extra onions — convenience and preparedness. — Jackie

Using crabapples

In our house, if we can’t find the answers to questions in books or past magazines, someone always says, “Let’s ask Jackie!” So here’s our question: We’ve made all sorts of things from our crabapples: jelly, candied, dried, etc. Does it make good drinking juice? Could we add sugar to taste and can it up that way? It is bitter from the juice steamer. Hate to waste it if it doesn’t taste good when we’re done.

Wendy Hause
Gregory, Michigan

Ask away Wendy! It all depends on the variety of your crabapples. Some are great, juiced, for drinking. And some just aren’t. What I’d do is try a batch and see if by adding sugar and/or a little water, if necessary, you can balance the taste to your likes. If not, you can always can up the juice so you have a safe, secure stock for making apple jelly at a future date. Once you know your tree better, you can choose to juice or not, based on your experience. We have three crabapples in our orchard. Two are wonderful for eating fresh or for making applesauce and butter. One is not so hot so we leave it for the birds with plans for grafting on to it soon. — Jackie