Wednesday, November 4, 2009

When I say this is boring, I really mean EXCITING. FUN. MUST READ.

So I'm pretty much turning this blog into a treatise on canning. An ill-informed and lazy treatise that will probably give you food poisoning, but nonetheless, a treatise on canning.

I think I can finally put away the water bath canner that has been lurking on my stove like some medieval cauldron. I like canning, but this year I think I went a little overboard. I now have 27 bottles of applesauce to add to my canning booty. Surely we don't need a tv room. We just need more canned goods to break all over the floor and cut our feet when the world ends by earthquake. And I'm thinking about giving up my job and becoming a designer of applesauce makers, because surely I can do better than the machines we tested.

I know you've already stopped reading, but just in case I still have you, this my friends will be no ordinary tale of Canning. This is the Tale of the Two Applesauce Makers and their DUEL TO THE DEATH. Well, maybe not death, but their duel to the gut-spitting applesauce making finish. Young vs. old. Machine vs. Woman. Exciting. Fun. A must read.

Our tale begins with the homely, yet useful and trusty Victorio Strainer. Although it looked malevolent it was really not a torture device. Instead it was a handy tool in the making of applesauce. Wash the apples, cut up the apples, boil the apples (using just a little bit of water because they boil out a lot of juice), feed the apples through the trusty Victorio and viola! The seeds and core go one way, while the applesauce boils out into a bowl as you turn the crank. My mom has owned Victorio for years and years.

This year, a new dude entered the scene. Mr. Kitchenaid Strainer Attachment, borrowed from my neighbor. He looked sleek, powerful and quick. Could he do the job that Victorio had done so faithfully? And could he do it with less mess, less work and more quickly? The tests were set up, Mr. Kitchenaid was put to work. And lo and behold, he had copied his style from Victorio-- with the machine cranking for you. So you don't bang your knuckles accidentally on the counter while turning the crank. Not that I ever did that before. I just can imagine.

First off they tested his speed--could this machine from the future beat out Victorio and Vickie cranking away? He tried his best, but he was unable to beat the quick turning hands of Vickie and the Victorio--a winning combination full of wonderful consonation.

Next test, yield. Mr. Kitchenaid may have been slower, but was it because he did a more thorough job? Why yes, yes it was. But maybe that was because Victorio was getting old and feeble after 30 years of service. Then in rushed a masked man. Pushing both machines to the floor he stood on the counter and yelled that no one would ever beat his method of applesauce making. He kissed the heroine and rode off into the night. The end.

We'll never know if Mr. Masked Man really has a better applesauce method because he ran away.

Here's my conclusions about Victorio vs. Kitchenaid. Victorio is messy and is hard to attach to countertops--it seems best attached to a cutting board and it moves. I don't have a cutting board. Victorio only works at my mom's. Although, Victorio has a generous loading mechanism. You can practically load all your wrinkled, cooked apples into it at once. It also had more surface area for applesauce to come out, helping make it the fastest draw in the west.

Kitchenaid--Oh dear. They really could have done so much, but they chose mediocrity. Ironically, this too will work only at my mom's, since she has one and I don't. Anyway, you set your machine on a 4--it goes as high as a 10, and attach your Victorio looking in miniature stuff. Could they not have designed something to harness all that power into churning out applesauce faster? I guess not, since it finished the applesauce 2 minutes slower than my mom operated Victorio and about the same with Stephanie operated Victorio. Also, it has a wimpy, wimpy cinch sack loading mechanism, requiring you to stand over the machine and load apples practically one at a time. But in our tests, it averaged 1/2 c. to 1 c. more yield than the Victorio. If you don't already own a Kitchenaid this is the far more expensive option. Victorios go for around $50, while Kitchenaids go for around $289 plus $80 for the attachments. Phew. I think I'll just keep borrowing stuff for awhile.

Conclusion: I wish they would invent something better for the Kitchenaid. While they're at it could they make it cheaper and more durable as well?

This year I got my apples from my kind neighbors, who have grown them for 30 years. We filled our three different size coolers full and that made 3 batches in my 9-jar canner. Thank you to my mom for helping me and Mike for being the kind soul that he is. Also Thank you Disney for entertaining my children.

And now I'm done. I promise not to bore you again about canning. EVER.


Hollie said...

I like posts about canning, just not canning. It makes me happy that other people have success with it.
Also, you can file this away in your Kitchen Aid useless info, Kitchen Aid stopped making several of their attachments because so many people were burning up the motor on their mixers. I wonder if that is why the strainer is so wimpy? Back when I thought I was domestic, I had plans to buy the wheat grinder attachment. Apparently it ruins motors, and I can buy one on Ebay and take a chance, or just buy flour. I think I'll buy flour.

Scott Little said...

Wow, that sounds like some serious manual labor! Although it is all worth it in the name of homemade applesauce. I don't know if my method is easier, but it is different. I peel and core the apples with something like this Then, I toss them into a large stockpot w/out any water (as they have plenty of juice themselves) and let them go for a bit on medium heat. When they are starting to get soft I add my spices (brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg). Then I use an immersion blender to blend up the mixture to the desired level of chunkiness (I like mine silky smooth). I let it cook for a bit, taste it, and then bottle it up. I think it is pretty simple. I am impressed that you pump even the soft apples through the Victorio. I have only ever used the Victorio for tomatoes, peaches, apricots, and other soft fruit. Nice work!

Emily Widdison said...

holy canning tale. phew. I canned applesauce all day a couple of days ago--probably why I was so interested in this totally interesting post:) Good job! I will keep borrowing all this canning stuff as well...but I have to go all the way to AZ to do it...a little time consuming.

Annie said...

Stephanie I can totally relate! I canned a lot this year too. I probably did 3 or 4 blog entries on canning this year! But canning is so worth it. You will be so happy during the winter when you and your family have it to eat or if you are saving it- you will be happy then!