I finally got around to those apples, and my second adventure in food preservation for the year. (The dried mint was the first.) Seeing as I prefer to do things the hard way, I decided to turn some of the apples into applesauce and prep the rest for future pie-baking. Turns out I had a few for a little eat-it-now treat, too.
Since I don’t want to make things too hard, I’m only going to talk about the applesauce for now. (I’ll get to the others later.) Applesauce is the world’s easiest thing to make, especially, I’ve decided, if you have Lodi apples. (Especially, too, if you’re just going to eat the stuff and not worry about saving it.) Here, though, if you’re a newbie, is the recipe:
- 2.5 pounds tart baking or sauce apples (see note)
- 1/4 cup water
- Sugar to taste (optional)
- Quarter and core apples. Place in heavy pan with water over low heat and cover.
- Simmer until apples are soft. Mash or put through sieve or mill to remove skin and even out texture.
- Stir in sugar, if desired.
- Cool and eat, or freeze. Makes 5 cups.
- I used Lodi apples, which may be the tartest I’ve ever tasted. I like tartness, fortunately, but added 1/2 cup sugar to the finished product. The University of Missouri extension people recommend the following varieties, too, for sauce: Arkansas Black, Cortland, Empire, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Liberty, Lodi. McIntosh, Mutsu (Crispin), Northern Spy, Ozark Gold, Rome Beauty, Spartan, Suncrisp, Winesap and York.
- After reading way too much about this stuff, I can tell you that some expert (I forget which) recommends that you not add cinnamon to applesauce that you freeze, as it supposedly will lose some of its punch. Add it, instead, when you serve it.
- I opted to freeze. I don’t know whether it’s critical, but I bought official freezer containers as opposed to general food storage containers. The freezer containers are heavier and have handy screw-on lids.
- Don’t forget to add the water, as I did. The apples cooked on a little before I noticed, but no harm done. I just added the water and kept ’em simmering. Lovely enameled pans clean up easily.
- The Lodi apple skin cooked down so much, some of it passed pretty easily through the food mill, but, then, I was using the largest holes. The skin didn’t seem to harm the flavor, though, and probably adds to the nutritional value.
CORRECTION: Ignore if you’re reading this the first time, but if you’re coming back (or getting it a second time on a feed), please note that the yield is 5 cups not 5 pints.