Road trip! Fall road trip!
Last Sunday’s drive up to Bucks County was a week or two before peak leaf-peeping—but was smack on for peak apple-picking (thank you, Solebury Orchards).
I think Sheila and I have each had an apple a day since then, plus I made a pie Monday morning before work. But still, with the U-Pick haul on top of the weekly CSA fruit ration, we had two huge bowls of apples on the counter this morning, no room in the fridge, and a really bored, off-my-feet-for-two-weeks me, looking for a project.
Apple butter was out, since I’d scored several jars at the recent Philly Swappers event. Plus, I wasn’t sure I had the stamina to stay awake for a multi-hour production. How about applesauce, instead?
In a rolling office chair cranked up to its maximum height, I washed, peeled, cooked, mashed, jarred, and cleaned up, all in under an hour. Oh, and I took a few pix along the way.
Makes about a quart-and-a-half of applesauce. Will keep for a month or so in the fridge. Freezes great, too; just be sure to leave plenty of headroom in whatever container you use, since the mixture will expand in the freezer.
- 5 lbs fresh apples (that’s probably about a dozen, plus or minus)
- 1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice
- 1/3 cup water
- juice of 1 lemon
- brown sugar, to taste (optional—I used 3 tbsp)
- cinnamon, to taste (optional—and I used none this time)
Give your apples a quick rinse, then peel, core, and slice them. I don’t get too fussy about getting all the skins off, since I don’t mind little specks of color and texture in my applesauce. But if you like the end product to be real smooth, go ahead and scrape ’em clean.
Discard the skins and cores (the peels from this batch ended up in the compost barrel, but some day, I swear, I’m going to try fermenting my own apple-scrap vinegar). Load the apple slices into a pot large enough to allow you to stir them without spilling over the sides.
Add the cider, water, lemon, and sugar/spices (if you’re using them) to the pot. Give everything a gentle toss.
Over medium heat, bring the pot to a boil. Reduce to medium-low, and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the apples are soft and starting to break down.
Now, you’ve really got options. Lightly smash the soft slices with a potato masher if you like a very chunky sauce. Press the product through a chinois, food mill, or ricer for a velvety texture. Or let your food processor or blender (with the stopper removed) tackle the job.
Now, try a spoonful so you can adjust any seasoning, and load the applesauce into jars. Once they’re cooled, slip on a lid and put them in the fridge or freezer.