For weeks we’ve been planning in our little neighborhood community to spend Thursday, October 6 making applesauce. At 7:30 in the morning we got a text that the family that was planning on hosting the event was sick. Fortunately I had followed a prompting to deep clean our kitchen the day before and by 8:15am we began the process of hauling the entire setup down six houses to mine.
Phoebe took Emily and Nathan for an abbreviated Joy School session while Andrew and Beth (the original host) and I turned our kitchen into an apple processing machine. By 9:30 we were ready to begin in earnest so Andrew went to work, Beth returned home to her sick family, and Phoebe joined me with the four kids. The two of us worked until 11:30, devouring half a loaf of sourdough bread slathered in peanut butter to keep all six of us happy. We broke for nap time with promises of return at 2pm.
Emily used her rest and read time to create a cozy space in the bathroom and paint her finger and toe nails with dry erase markers. I read for forty-five minutes and then joined Emily in the bathroom while she painted my toe nails too. Around 1pm she joined me downstairs to start more apples boiling. With less commotion she helped me fill the pots and work the saucer. I was grateful for the thirty minutes we spent quietly working together. I caught a glimpse of our future applesauce endeavors.
Emily wanted to take a picture of me too.
Phoebe arrived with Beth, who brought the steam bath pot and gave us instructions for canning. Shortly after that Christina arrived to help for an hour and half, adding a much needed third person to our process. Andrew came home to help wrangle children for forty-five minutes before heading back to school for a seminar. We sent three extremely energetic children outside with Beth to play at the playground for an hour while Phoebe and I worked as fast as we could to finish processing the apples before library time at 4. Nathan enjoyed having the downstairs all to himself with remnants from the bigger kids playing. After the short library break, we returned at 4:30 to fill the last of the jars and share our portions of dinner to make a real meal. I had a crockpot meal of quinoa, black beans, and corn cooking in the bathroom in exchange for an incredible pickled beets and pear salad made by Phoebe.
Andrew returned home at 5 we ate dinner while watching for the steam to start from the pot and setting the timer for 10 minutes. We kept the canning process going until 8pm while we put kids to bed and cleaned up from applesauce making (which was a two hour event).
At the end of the twelve hour day, we turned 7 bushels of apples into 92 quarts of applesauce for five families.