Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cooking with Kitten: Applesauce

Tomorrow I am bound and determined to make it over to Lyman Orchards to picks me some apples! And what do I do with such an abundant supply of apples, kittens? Why, I make applesauce!

Here's how I do it. The photos are from an earlier applesauce-making adventure this summer:

The first things you'll need, of course, are some apples. For my previous batch, I used ginger golds, which are pictured above.

Then you'll need this little tool:
I honestly don't know what the official name for this gadget is. I call it "the apple corer slicer thing." Here's how it works:

You place it over the center of the apple...

...and press down. You're left with the core standing straight up, and the slices spiraling around the side, kinda like the bloomin' onion appetizer you can get at some chain restaurants.

Put the core in your compost heap, if you've got one, or throw it away. Save the slices. Note that I didn't peel the apple first. It's not necessary in my version.

Now as you core your apples, put them in your largest pot. Once you've cored and sliced all of your apples, add water to the pot--but only enough to cover the bottom of the pot. You won't need much water, since the juices in the apples will provide you enough liquid during the cooking process.
Turn your stove to low. You want to cook your apples very slowly so they don't burn. You'll hear the water at the bottom of the pot bubble up soon enough.

Here's what the apples look like once they start to cook down:
The apples will start to look as if they're starting to sink. Note how the color of the skins is a lighter green.

Now while the apples are cooking, you're gonna need two other tools: a foley food mill, and the largest bowl you own. Set the two up like this:

I set mine up next to the stove, which makes it easier. That way you can spoon the apples directly from the pot and into your foley food mill.

Where can you find a foley food mill, you ask? My mother gave me mine for Christmas one year, and I have no idea where she found it. Here are some I just found on Amazon. You really don't need to spend a ton of money on this gadget; my mother paid next to nothing for hers and it's lasted over 35 years.

Meanwhile, check on your apples...

...when they get good and soft, but not soft enough that they collapse under the weight of a metal spoon, it's time to add your spices. I use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves in my applesauce. Be generous with the cinnamon, but use no more than a tablespoon or two each of the cloves and allspice. As for the nutmeg, make sure it's freshly grated. It just tastes better, and there's no better scent making applesauce than that of freshly grated nutmeg. Be generous with the nutmeg, too, but not as generous as the cinnamon, and a little more so than the cloves and allspice.

Now wait a few minutes after adding your spices, so the apples start to absorb them. Then give your pot the spoon test:

See how soft the apples are? See how the spoon just sank to the bottom? You're ready for the foley food mill now!

Here's what the apples look like right after you've spooned them directly from the pot and placed them in the foley food mill:

Now you're gonna need a lot of elbow grease! Start turning! The sauce will start to trickle down from the bottom of the food mill.

Here's what the apples look like in the middle of the process. Notice that there's a LOT of sauce in there! Once in a while, you're gonna need to clean the skins out from the bottom of the food mill to prevent clogging. Either throw them away, or use 'em in your compost heap.

And now, here's what the finished product looks like:

Homemade applesauce has been a tradition in my family since I was a kid. My mama passed on this tradition to me. I refused, as a kid, to eat commercial applesauce, 'cause it tasted yucky. I still refuse to eat commercial applesauce for that reason.

You can use your applesauce in many ways. It's wonderful, of course, while it's still warm, and it's especially good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a bit of real whipped cream. (NEVER the artificial Cool Whip processed stuff! Yucky!)

It's excellent when you mix it with a little granola and yogurt to make a parfait. And it's especially good with breakfast! Mix it in with a bit of hot oatmeal. Or, here's my favorite breakfast: Heat up a bowl of Grape Nuts with a little vanilla soymilk. When you take it out of the microwave, stir in some applesauce. It is TO DIE FOR!

Finally, if your four-legged housemates don't like applesauce, know that you can freeze this. It freezes beautifully.

Now tell me, is there any other way to spend a spectacular fall day than to celebrate the bounty of its harvest?

1 comment:

Jane R said...

Yum! And I too use a food mill for applesauce - a family tradition as well. Thanks for the illustrations, too!