Four days ago, miniature rivers of sweat ran down my back as I squinted into the Seattle sun. Smooshing crusty shrimp foccacia into my mouth with one hand and wrestling my nursing toddler with the other I watched my girl rolling across the grass, giddy with sun and silliness. I tried to take a deep breath, fixing this second in my mind, ordering myself to remember, to savor this last gasp of summer. It seemed impossible that it would end.
But this morning, the patter of rain roused me from the sloppy swirl of blankets covering my bed. The breeze coming in from our open window nipped at our skin and raised taut goosebumps on arms and legs. The littlest girl was grumpy, the tot would not leave my arms, and husband and teens were all bleary-eyed slugs. Fall, such as it is in the Northwest, seems to have come.
I wanted to make something warm and soothing. Something thick and rich that would help us all embrace the change of season, instead of resenting it for not being summer.
Applesauce, I thought. I should make applesauce.
While we were up north, we paid a quick visit to my husband’s aunt and uncle, who treated us to a generous bagful of apples from their garden. Apples that fresh don’t really need anything except mashing, but a hint of ginger and a dash of cinnamon brightens and deepens the apples’ flavor. When my little taste tester tried this, the wee bit of heat from the ginger is the reason she declared this not applesauce, but Apple Sassy.
When I’m making applesauce for the little ones, I just add the spices and blend; it is super fast, and we all like the fresh flavor of raw apple. However, if you have the time, I recommend that you give your applesauce a turn in the slow cooker. Some of the water in the apples will cook off, which concentrates the flavor wonderfully, without going as far turning into apple butter.
Of course, you can do that, too: just let it cook longer until the volume reduces to about half and the texture has thickened even further. A good apple butter sticks to the spoon the same way nut butter does.
However you choose to make it, homemade applesauce is a real treat. Serve this over pork chops, roasted sweet potatoes, stir it into plain yogurt, make gelatin gummies with it … or just enjoy it by the spoonful. A batch of this will warm your spirit, whatever the weather.
- 16 small to medium apples
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2" square piece of ginger, peeled
- Wash, core and roughly chop apples. Place the cinnamon, ginger, and about one-third of the apples into a high-speed blender. Blend for 30-60 seconds, or until apples have been pulverized and only tiny flecks of apple peel can be seen. Pour mixture into large bowl and set aside.
- Blend remaining apples into a pulp. Add to the mixture in the bowl, stirring well. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until ready to eat.
- Optional: If you desire a thicker applesauce, pour the mixture into a slow cooker. Cook for 4 hours on HIGH.