15 October 2015


Chicken stock bubbling away in the slow cooker, pints of applesauce already out of the canner and sealed, a crackling fire in the fireplace, all by 8:30 this morning. Such a pleasant way to start the day! The slow cooker has been getting a workout: my applesauce cooked in the slow cooker all yesterday afternoon, and last night I ran it through the food mill into a new pot so that I could put all of the non-meat parts of our roast chicken from supper into the slow cooker. The applesauce went into the fridge to keep until I had time to reheat and can it this morning, and the chicken oddments got covered with water and a splash of apple cider vinegar and set to cook on Low for 24 hours. So much good food, and so easy to make, thanks to the slow cooker!

I've been elbow-deep in apples these last two days. Tuesday evening I picked up a 20 lb box of Jonagolds from the co-op, and as of tonight there are only 16 apples left in the bottom of the box. One batch of applesauce is canned, another is prepped for the slow cooker—washed, diced, tossed with spices and frozen so I can put it into the crockpot midwinter and make the house smell wonderful again.

Little Bear and I also packed away two bags of measured out apples and spices for kuchens, and one for a pie. He was a huge help entertaining Kit while I peeled and cut apples! I'm going to try to save the remaining apples for eating raw; I know Little Bear and I will happily go through them before I have to worry about them going bad. Putting away one more kuchen worth of fruit is tempting, though; it's very possibly my favorite dessert.

Also, food mills. Why did I think you needed an immersion blender or glass-pitchered blender to purée hot foods? I borrowed my mother's food mill for the applesauce, a vintage Foley handed down from an elderly friend's kitchen, and loved it! The applesauce came out so beautifully smooth, and it was so easy to use. Little Bear had so much fun taking a turn cranking the "apple smusher." I couldn't help but go look at hand mills online, and was so disappointed to see that modern Foley food mills don't seem to be of comparable quality, and many modern brands and models are partly plastic instead of solid, heavy-duty metal. Being able to cook without electricity really appeals to me, but I'll wait until I happen across a good-quality older model at an antique shop or something.

Having a couple of kitchen-centric days has been wonderful; I definitely enjoy homemakery pursuits. It's about time to step out of the kitchen and try to tackle some other areas of my to-do list, though; hopefully I'll be able to pull out my sewing machine and take care of a couple of languishing projects this weekend.


  1. We have a food mill (except we just call it the applesauce maker since that's its main use) that is almost exactly like the one Joey grew up with, and despite having a few plastic parts both mills are in pristine condition. I'm not sure how much vintage Foleys run, but if you're interested in other options, I would recommend checking out the Victorio Food Strainer and Sauce Maker :-) They're usually in the $30-$40 range on Amazon. Joey's family has used theirs to crank out gallons of applesauce for at least 20 years of annual Applesauce Days so far. They have four pots simmering on the stove at a time and then you just keep pouring their contents into the hopper when the apples are soft enough. The most wonderful advantage of it is that you can leave the stems and seeds in the apples and the strainer just spits them out a separate spout (presumably into a small bowl that's been placed there). It's a huge time saver to just chop, simmer, and crank the applesauce out!

    Haha, I'll stop sounding like a commercial now. I promise they didn't pay me.

    1. Haha, thanks for the recommendation! It's great to hear that those last for a long time. I actually just discovered that some antiques dealers on Etsy have the Foley mills for pretty reasonable prices, so now I have to figure out which makes the most sense... I think I want to physically hold any mill and look it over before buying it, so I'll have to see if any local places carry those mills. Maybe a hardware store?