Saturday, October 13, 2012

Snapshot - Apple Awesomesauce


It's time. I have very organic apples at my house. Not the celebrated sort that ya pay $3/lb for, but the "organic" kind that worms taste test and give you the thumbs up before you get your hands on 'em.

My (incredibly awesome Romanian) neighbor assured me that negotiating with worms, etc, is nothing compared to all the pesticides in the pretty apples at the store. He said it like,
"I don't know what everyone's problem is, they think a pretty apple at the store is better than their own treasure in the back yard. It's crazy!"  
At which I had to stare at the sky intently trying not to visualize all the apples I purchased while letting so many fall and brown. I even nodded and agreed with him, "Mhmm... crazy."

It got me thinking, though... my terrible-looking apples are a "treasure"?

So I started tracking down recipes.

My first attempt at apple pie was... rather leathery. I cooked the pie too long, too... so it's leathery crust was filled with applesauce. The only bright side is, I get the whole thing to myself.

Some links I happened upon in my quest to "do something" with my apples:

Apple Cider (all sorts)
Freezing Apples for Pies - genius!
Autumn Apple Pie - great crust recipe & hints
Apple Butter (this takes all day... or all week, depending on schedule.)
Freezing Applesauce - EASY with helpful tips

Everyone said Applesauce is easy, so I started there, today. These pictures are my adventure in making applesauce.

First... my spotty apples:

A rare pear... kinda tiny and ugly, but delicious

My bounty:

Awesome Sauce:

The taste-testers at my house did NOT like my sauce, if you can believe that. Too tart, too something... I can add sugar, but I'm wondering what else?

I emailed my mom. Isn't that the solution to botched things? I'll share her answer since her sauce really is awesome:
Yep, I kinda quartered them, cutting off the bruise from bouncing on the ground when it fell, and the center where the worms or the core and seeds are.  My apples are sweet, so I add very little sugar.  In a gallon of sauce, I added about 1/2 cup of sugar, and I dump the cinnamon from one of those giant spice things, so it's not measured.  I stop dumping when I'm happy with the color and the flavor.  I'd guess that I use a quarter of a cup, more or less.  I put about a cup of water in the bottom of the pan and lid it tight so the apples steam for about 15 minutes.  Next I put them through the food mill, which blends the sauce and shoves it through the holes at the bottom, keeping the skins up topside for dumping into the garbage.  It's pretty thorough so I get about 1/4th cup of junk for the trash out of a gallon of sauce.  I can't imagine that blending them in a food processor or blender would make any diff from my method.  I have lots of apples all over the place, so come and get them.  I do believe that the flavor of my apple tree is the key secret to my sauce.  I've been a real stickler  that the half dead tree must survive, since it's incomparable and not replaceable.  My sauce is very thick, so it doesn't spill all over the plate like store-bought does.  It's not very sweet, so it can be eaten in large quantities without weight gain worry or "sweeting out" like other desert type of dishes do to ya.
The moral of this story is... use organic apples 'cause they're a treasure... and keep trying 'til you get it right. The house smells delicious every time, so... that's a bonus!!

Alyce @ At Home with Books hosts Saturday Snapshot. You've just survived a slice of real life in photos. Not so bad, hey?