Applesauce and Apple Peel Jelly

It's apple season, which of course means applesauce!

For years I've tried to figure out whether I prefer to throw the apples whole (or minus the core) into the pot, then use my food mill to separate the good from the bad at the end, OR to first peel the apples and just mash the results. Each method has its pros and cons.

Peeling, though, is tedious. So, when I saw an inexpensive apple peeler in the Bed, Bath, and Beyond flyer, I decided it was time to try out this gadget. Yes, the reviews were mixed, but for $15 (after a $5 coupon), I figured it was worth testing out.

This picture illustrates one of the supreme benefits of this item - kid power! Because it's fun, easy, and fast, this is an ideal job for a young helper. For Ben an added bonus is grabbing as many apple peels as he wants. He's crazy about apples, and would eat three or more each day if we let him.

You can set the devise to do any variation of peeling, coring, and slicing. I've been having it do all three. Is it perfect? Nope. Skin sometimes is left behind, especially if the apple is off center. Very soft apples will fall apart before you remove them from the machine. But overall, the time savings is terrific, and I'll take the little bits of skin for the extra hours.

But what can you do with the apple peels, besides feed them to hungry children? Last year we made apple peel jelly for the first time, and it was a hit here. Just make sure that you have thoroughly washed your apples before you peel them, and then you can put them to good use. The recipe makes a pretty sweet jelly. I don't have enough experience to cut the sugar without messing up the set. Perhaps you could adapt another recipe to use with low sugar pectin.

Apple Peel Jelly:

Apple peelings (and cores) - enough to fill a gallon ice cream tub
6 cups water
+++++
7 c. sugar
cinnamon, nutmeg - as desired

Bring apple peels and water to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring only infrequently. Cover with lid and allow to steep for several hours. Strain liquid through cheesecloth and colander into large bowl. Don't squeeze the apple peels or you will make your jelly cloudy. Measure liquid. Add water to bring to 5 cups if necessary. Place this 5 c. of liquid back in the pot. Gradually stir in one box of pectin. Add 7 c. sugar all at once, stirring until dissolved. Return to boiling and then allow to boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon and other spices as desired. Can in 1/2 pint or pint jars. Process for 10 minutes (20 for pints)in water bath. Makes 7 1/2 pints.
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