… and autumn means one thing: APPLES.
Ok, I know it’s all pumpkin-spice-everything right now. But before we jump into the depths of fall with all the pumpkiny things, let’s let the apples have a moment of glory first.
I love apples. I love them all year long, thanks to the conveniences of modern technology/agriculture/global shipping. But I especially love them in the fall. Picking a tart-sweet McIntosh from my grandpa’s tree means crisp air, changing leaves, Saturday afternoons of watching USU football. Even though in my adult life I get bored with the length of sporting events that’s still one of the memories a McIntosh apple invokes.
You can have your Honeycrisps (which are admittedly delicious), but McIntosh apples will always have my heart.
A couple of weeks ago I picked my first McIntosh apples of the season. And then I picked some more. And then I scavenged among the already-fallen ones for salvageable specimens; i.e., only slightly bruised, not pecked clean by the birds, etc.. Perhaps not salvageable for eating as-is, but I had other things in mind. I wanted to make applesauce.
Applesauce. Quite possibly the easiest thing you can do with apples – peel ’em, chop ’em, throw ’em in a pot and let ’em stew. Something I’ve done probably a dozen times. Something that almost became a disaster a week or so ago.
Word to the wise – don’t leave your applesauce pot un-watched whilst you go out for ice cream with friends.
The good news is that the pot, after several treatments with baking soda and hard scrubbing, is now as good as new.
The other good news is the applesauce was mostly salvageable. With only a slight hint of burntness; which is easily masked by the addition of cinnamon.
So go get some apples! Eat them! Make applesauce with them!
(Just don’t be like me and burn them.)
This recipe is really easy, and because it can be adapted to however much applesauce you want to make it is also really vague. The apples I was using were fairly small, so I probably used 20-30, and it made about 4 cups of applesauce.
- Apple juice or apple cider or water
- Lemon juice
- pinch of salt
Take all your apples – if you have big ones, you could probably use 10, but I had small ones so it was more like 20-30. Peel them, core them, and chop them. Unless you have one of those cool peeler/corer/slicer gizmos this is the part that takes the longest. Throw ’em all in a heavy duty pot. Add 1/4-1/2 cup liquid (apple juice or cider or water), a couple tablespoons lemon juice (it keeps the flavors bright and tasty), and just a pinch of salt (or not, if you don’t want to). Give it a good stir, turn on the heat to medium-medium low and cook until soft. (This is the part where you should probably stay somewhat close by so you can give it a stir on occasion, see if you need to add more liquid, or turn down the heat if need be). When they are nice and soft and mashable, remove the pot from the heat. If you want chunky applesauce you can just mash the apples up a bit with a potato masher and leave some larger chunks in. I pureed mine, in small batches, in my blender so it was nice and silky smooth.