Thursday, September 26, 2013

Down-Home Applesauce

The other day, I saw a backyard tree laden with yellow-skinned apples. I immediately knew that I was looking at the most treasured apple of all. Known as “transparents” in parts of North America, these apples doubtless have their equivalent in the Time Zone and at the Latitude Where You Live. 

Grocery stores don’t sell transparent apples because they don’t ship well, bruising easily and lasting a very short time. They don’t even survive the rigors of travel in lunch bags. But ohhh, are they prized by anyone making applesauce, apple pies, or by anyone seeking apples for canning and freezing!

As with corn, apples have been dumbed down to a handful of commercially available species. To find real apples (and real corn outside the bland “peaches and cream” variety), you must seek out an orchard, a farm, or - as with transparent apples - someone willing to share the bounty of a backyard tree.

I wasnt fortunate enough to find transparent apples for this recipe. Transparents cook “soft” - crumbling as they simmer in sauce, remaining intact but fork-tender in pies. It occurred to me as I peeled and cored a few apples that some readers may never have made applesauce before. What a pity! Homemade applesauce releases the flavors of Fall, inviting friends in and keeping the cold out.

I used a fair amount of cinnamon in this recipe. Use less, if you prefer. Add more water if you like your sauce runny; not so much if you want your sauce in chunks. Use a hand blender (an “immersion” blender) as I did, or a simple potato masher to achieve the texture you want. 

The method you use will depend on the type of apples you use. Of course, if you cook with transparents - the perfect cooking apple - the sauce will practically make itself! Consider this recipe flexible. There are no “rules” for making applesauce. Just eat and enjoy it to suit your personal taste.

I used the small number of apples I prepared here to make Easy Cheesy Applesauce Muffins. I hope you’ll watch for that post tomorrow.

Down-Home Applesauce:

4 medium apples, cored, peeled, coarsely chopped
¼ c. plus 2 tbsp. water
¼ c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine apples, water, and spiced sugar in heavy saucepan. Bring just to a boil and immediately reduce heat to simmer. Insert a toothpick between pot and lid to prevent boil-overs. Simmer, covered, 20 min., stirring occasionally (see Note)With lid still on, remove from heat and allow to steam. True cooking apples will not need mashing or blendering. Sadly, my sturdier apples did.

Note: Simmering times vary with the type of apples you use. Softer apples such as transparents don’t need steaming.

Peel, core, and chop apples

Heap into heavy-based saucepan

Add sugar, cinnamon, and water

Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer

Blenderize to desired texture

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