Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apples, Apples, APPLES!

What do you think of when you think of fall? For me, it's Thanksgiving, candy corn and apples. Others like pumpkins, cold weather and the changing of the leaves. Here's why I love apples: apple pie, applesauce, apple crisp, and apple cider. I love eating apples plain too, don't get me wrong.

Today, I went to the Apple Fest at Portland Nursery. Every year, they have apple tasting, entertainment, fresh apple goods and much more. Considering that apples are about $2.00 per pound at the grocery store, the $.89 a pound at the nursery was appealing. Even better, they sell apples in these huge bins, and they always have kinds that you can't buy on the West Coast, like Cortlands. I love East Coast apples. That's where I grew up, so I have fond memories of going apple picking in the fall.

With my apple loot, I came home and made sauce. It's my first attempt, so I had to ask my Mom for help. Below is my picture biography of my applesauce venture.

1. First, begin with your apples. I used a combination of Swiss Gourmet and Spitzenburg. I wanted Macintosh, but the nursery was out.

2. Cut the apples to a uniform size. If you have small apples, half them, and then half them again. If they are bigger apples, cut them into about 1/8ths, or about 2-inch chunks. Don't worry about the seeds. Deep breath people. Trust me, DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE SEEDS. Do take the stem off and the weird blossom thing at the bottom though. Oh, and don't peel them.

Exhibit A:

3. Get a big pan and fill the bottom of the pan (just so it's covered) with water. Place the apples in the pan. Cover, heat on high until the water starts to boil. Then, turn down the heat to low and simmer. Cook until the apples are soft. This took about an hour on my stove.

Exhibit B:

4. Once the sauce has cooled a little, strain it. I used a colander because the mesh strainer I had turned my applesauce into apple juice. Mush the pulp through the holes until you have nothing but the skins.

Exhibit C:

This is all the skin that was left from that huge pan.

5. At this point, you have complete applesauce. Don't add cinnamon or anything to it until you are ready to eat. The spices will turn it a weird brown color.

So, my foray into applesauce was a success. I have enough to eat, freeze, and to make an applesauce cake. Plus, I have apples left over for an apple crisp!
Exhibit D: