Thursday, October 17, 2013

Applesauce: Make It Today, But Don't Eat It Until Tomorrow

Seriously, your applesauce will taste 10x better the day after you make it. I am an applesauce purist. No sweeteners, no cinnamon, no cloves or nutmeg. Okay, mostly a purist. I added a teaspoon of ground Grains of Paradise (my winner for "Best Spice Name" and a great spice for apple pie. Or gin.), to this batch but I could have easily left it out. If I want apple spices, I'll make a baked apple, or a pie. (Mmm, pie!)

Sierra Beauties. Washed, then cut into quarters or eighths.

 The only tough decision you have to make is whether you want to do the heavy lifting up front (peeling and coring the apples) or at the end (getting rid of the cores and seeds and skin), by using a food mill after the apples are cooked. I prefer the latter.It also reminds me of when my mom made applesauce. She'd cook the apples, but whatever kid that was old enough and that was closest to the kitchen was pressed into duty milling the cooked apples with the Foley Food Mill (still around, but made for Mirro). For some reason, she always referred to it by all three names, as I do now. Mine's an OXO - smaller than my mom's, with three disk sizes - coarse, medium and fine. I use the medium for applesauce. The fine disk is perfect for milling tomato sauce. The fine disk also makes quick work of raspberries (and similar berries) when I make sorbet.

If I don't have time to mill, I can stick it in the refrigerator for a day but most important, you don't lose the taste and the color of the skins.

If I had to choose just  one apple from which to make sauce, I think I'd choose Jonathans or maybe Gravensteins, but applesauce can benefit from 2-3 types of apples. Think tart + sweet or tart + sweet + floral. Whatever you choose, applesauce is best made from the fresh fall-crop apples.

After about 15 minutes of cooking, after the water came to a boil.
Liquid? You can add water, cider or juice, but just enough so that the apples don't scorch. A batch of 5 pounds of apples takes about 30-ish minutes to cook and you need to be vigilant in the those last 15 minutes, stirring every minute or so and adjusting the heat down if necessary.

Your Wooden Spoon Doesn't Belong Here...

Your best friend in those last 15 minutes of cooking is not a spoon or a silicone spatula but an angled paddle. Stirring and turning the apples, clearing the sides and bottom of the pot and getting into the corners is what this tool was made for.