Friday, December 17, 2010


Perhaps I should write an ode to the humblest of all fruit dishes. It has such wonderful meaning behind it!

Applesauce! Everyone likes it, from babies to old people! It's good with everything! Bologna sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, steaks and seafood, hot or cold. My grandpa Orlin ate applesauce at every meal. He also drank milk at every meal. He was a dairy farmer and he was extremely loyal to two things - my grandma and the way he had earned his living. And he did that by having oatmeal every morning, milk with every meal and applesauce poured over hot bread and butter.

Today seemed like a perfectly acceptably day to make some applesauce. I have had several pounds of macintosh apples for quite some time now. Oh, don't give me that face. Apples last for months. Months, I tell you. Just ask my grandmother.

I would do anything for two or three macintosh apple trees in our yard. I wouldn't mind a peach tree or two either, but one thing at a time. Somehow I have to convince the neighbors on both sides to move away, and then tear their houses down and annex their property lines into my own. Or I could ask Alex to move me to the country, but honestly, annexing the neighbors' yards might be easier.

Applesauce is amazingly simple to make if you have the right tools and even better to eat. And by right tools, I mean you need a strainer of some kind! Or, if you choose to stand at the counter and peel and core all those apples, you can use a food processor or food mill. :)

Try to buy your apples in the fall, and use two or three different kind of apples. Romas are good because they offer a pretty pink hue to your fruit mush. MacIntosh apples are a MUST - they are fragrant and just the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Add some crisp eating apples like Galas for their natural sweetness and a Granny Smith or two for a little acidity and you have a great mix. Gather about 6 pounds of apples total if this is your first time making applesauce so that you don't spend an entire day slicing and dicing and then don't get the result you wanted.

Cut the apples into 1 inch pieces and drop them into a 6-8 quart preserving pot. Add 2 cups of water, cover, and bring to a boil on high heat. If you are using a food processor, you will need to peel and core the apples, but if not, drop everything in together!

Boil on high heat, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes, or until the apple mush is seperating from the peels and everything smells like an orchard in the kitchen. Remove the preserving pot from the heat and pour the apple mush into the strainer (or processor).

Straining takes patience. Don't get too hurried! Take the wooden mallet and push straight through the apple guts to the bottom and repeat. It take a while, so dance around the strainer, singing Christmas carols if necessary. Press as much apple mush through the strainer as possible and then return the freshly squeezed applesauce to the preserving pot. Boil it for 5 minutes, clean up the mesh you made with the strainer and throw all those mushed peels and guts away. Stir the sauce and take in the best fragrance in the world and then do as you wish with it! Put the applesauce into Ball jars and can them, freeze it in plastic ice cream tubs or freezer bags, or just put it in the fridge and pull it out for dinner later.

I personally am going to label all of my jars with "AppleSaucy". Cuz that's how I roll. :)

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