By Nancy Smorch
The girls and I went apple picking at Earth First Farms in Berrien Center, Michigan yesterday. We picked three bushels with the intention of making some homemade cider later this week. I thought that since we would be putting the entire apple through the cider press - peel and all - it was really important that the apples be organic.
It was a beautiful day for a drive - sunny and in the 70's, and the colors are just starting to change here. It was a fun afternoon and we were able to bring home a nice variety of organic Golden Delicious, Empire, and Jonathan apples.
The cider will be a project for later in the week. But for today, applesauce was on the agenda.
You see, Lindsey had her wisdom teeth pulled this past Friday and she was such a good sport about going to pick apples with us - even though she couldn’t eat any of them - that I wanted to make something with the apples that she could actually eat (and that would have some nutritional value as well).
I had never made applesauce before. I had been wanting to for years, but just never got around to it. I had heard it was pretty easy, but I had mentally put making applesauce in a similar category as making jam or canning tomatoes - time consuming! But after making it today, I can honestly say it is pretty easy, and doesn’t take a whole lot of time at all!
I didn’t want to make just the basic applesauce. I wanted to add a little more flavor than normal. So I looked through a few of my cookbooks and found a recipe in "La Tartine Gourmande - Recipes for an Inspired Life," by Beatrice Peltre, that inspired me and gave me some ideas.
Here’s what I did.
About 10 small to medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced (I used Empire, Golden Delicious, and Jonathan)
2 Tbsp. organic sugar
1 Tbsp. organic brown sugar
Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon (make sure it’s organic since you’ll be using the skin for the zest)
1 vanilla bean, split open and seeded
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup water
Put all of the ingredients in a heavy duty sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the apples are tender.
You can then put them in a food processor or blender, depending on the consistency you like. I didn’t even have to put them in a blender - they were soft enough to just mash with the back of my wooden spoon.
And voila! It is ready to serve. You could even put it on top of some ice cream, or make an apple crisp or a mini apple pie, if you like.
Note: This recipe makes a pretty small batch, so if you are looking for more, double the recipe!