I am glad to report that I am finally done processing the 250 pounds of apples that Dekalb and I picked a week before my birthday. (I am sure that Dekalb would like me to note here that they were all free or he wouldn’t have found any thrill at all in harvesting them.)
This is what 250 pounds of apples looks like. We crammed 50 pounds in each of two bushel boxes, 40 pounds in each of two 4/5-bushel boxes, and miscellaneous amounts in various sacks. The stuff that went in the bags was mostly Golden Delicious, while the stuff in the boxes was a small reddish-green apple of unknown name. The former made fabulous dried fruit and applesauce; the latter made good canned slice apples and (unprocessed) is an excellent accompaniment to peanut butter, but quite unimpressive dried.
Companion took this picture of me while I was processing apples. The bucket on the floor was for compost. I ended up filling three of those with seeds, rotten fruit and bruised bits over the course of processing. Closest to me on the stove top is my Finnish steam juicer, which consists of three stainless steel tiers, flexible tubing, and a lid. The bottom tier is a pot that holds water, the top tier is a steamer basket that holds the fruit, and the middle tier is a juice collector. You bring the water in the bottom tier to a boil, and the steam rises through an inverse funnel at the center of the juice collector, heating the apples. The heated apples exude juice, which drips into the collector. Once you have enough juice, you uncap and unclamp the flexible tubing at the side of the juice collector, empty is into sterilized jars and cap. In Scandinavia, they consider that the end of the process, but USDA guidline-abiding citizens of the United States then put the jars in a boiling water bath for the USDA-specified period.
The contraption at the far side of the stove is an aluminum pressure canner which some liken to a military tank. (If that be so, it is the only such tank that a respectable Amish or Mennonite will be caught using.) It is quite heavy, with solid walls about 1/2-inch thick and a lid that screws on with six separate nuts. Apples don’t require pressure canning, but I use The Tank for boiling-waterbath canning, as well, because I gave my grannyware boiling-waterbath canner to someone who had no canning equipment (how could I let her be without?).
The box by the sink and the bag on the floor contain apples.
And now, the gallery of mutant apples: