Some days, my brain feels like applesauce. Not that I know how applesauce feels. I don’t think I’ve ever asked it. If I did–and got an answer–then I’d really be in trouble. We’re not at that point. Whew. Anyways……It’s day 15 of our 30 Day Heart Health Challenge! Today, we’re focusing on heart-healthy, fiber-rich, vitamin-packed apples. Or not focusing, as the case seems to be. Have you ever played “Apples to Apples”? Players need to match noun cards to an adjective card, and the judge chooses the best fit. (This nerdy English teacher likes parts of speech games almost as much as spelling games.) It’s free association to the extreme. We’re all green cards, associated with many roles, trying to juggle a lot of apples without dropping them. Dropping the balls may result in applesauce. I’ve still got all my apples for now, but after reading this paragraph, you probably agree with my aforementioned self-diagnosis of applesauce brain.
Sometimes we choose what foods to make, and sometimes they choose us. Today, the apples were calling me. It’s not their fault. They didn’t mean to make trouble. As usual, we’ll blame it on the baby. He graduated from the shape sorter and made his own fruit sorter. The bag of apples in the standing baskets in the kitchen got divided between the next basket down, an empty cracker box, and the floor. Pinball, anyone?
This applesauce recipe may be a little different than what you expect. I use the whole apple, including the peel and core. Why? They contain a high concentration of pectin, a gelling agent used in jams. I wanted to keep the pectin in order to thicken my applesauce. To this end, some homemade applesauce recipes are made from chopped apples with the peel left on. I don’t mind chunky applesauce, but I don’t like the texture of apple peels in applesauce, even if they’re chopped or blended. So, I washed and peeled the apples and added everything to the pot. I made sure to leave the peels in big pieces so they would be easy to fish out. I wanted to keep the recipe low sugar, but sugar not only tastes good, it also helps the pectin work its gel magic. If you like a sweeter taste, feel free to add a little more sugar. I added one of my favorite spices, cinnamon, but it is totally optional.
After only twenty minutes of hands-on prep time, a half hour of simmering, and patience for the applesauce to cool, the result is a parve, vegan, gluten-free, allergy-friendly dessert or condiment. This homemade applesauce is so good, I am freezing half to save for eating on latkes. The other half hasn’t disappeared by the time the kids get home, it will probably appear on the supper table tonight with French Toast Casserole and cottage cheese.
What’s your favorite way to serve applesauce?
Homemade Applesauce Recipe
Yield: 6 cups
Prep time: 20 minutes, divided
Cook time: 30 minutes
5 cups peeled, chopped apples, skins and cores saved
3 cups water
1 slice lemon, with rind
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Wash apples well, especially if they were rolling on the floor like mine, or if they are waxed. Peel apples carefully, leaving the peel in large pieces that will be easy to remove from the pot.
- Combine all ingredients in a medium pot.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, until the apple chunks are soft.
- Turn off the heat and let cool for at least a half hour.
- Remove apple peels and cores.
- If you like your applesauce chunky, it’s done. If you prefer smooth applesauce, mash with a fork. For super-smooth applesauce, puree with an immersion blender.
- Chill. (The applesauce. Well, you, too.)