Applesauce! The easiest and healthiest thing you can make with apples.
Every year, when the fall approaches and the first apples of the year start making an appearance on the benches of the fruit market, my mind gets filled with pictures, smells and flavors, all apple-scented. Apple strudel with cinnamon and raisins, my mom’s upside-down walnut apple cake, apple dumplings, warm, crumbling apple pie and – why not? – new experiments with my favorite autumn fruit.
But before I give in – because I confess, I always do eventually – I make sure to make at least one ready-to-use jar of the healthiest thing we can make with fresh apples.
Simple. Easy. Full of health. And so versatile with so many uses!
– The perfect ingredient for a breakfast full of energy, added in your pancakes, oatmeal or yogurt.
– The smartest and healthiest alternative to butter when baking.
– The healthiest, low-fat topping for ice-cream.
– The best fruity companion for roasted pork.
Why buy the store product when we can easily make homemade applesauce from fresh apples? I use two ways of making it. When I need it for a recipe and I don’t have any ready in my fridge, I go for the microwave method. I slice an apple or two, add some water – about half a cup but it depends on the consistency I need for each recipe – I microwave it in full power for 3 minutes and then I use the hand blender to puree it. Easier done than said!
But when I have fresh, organic apples and I want to make a jar full of flavor and aroma, I go for the real recipe. It’s not much more difficult and it has an added bonus. The whole house gets apple and cinnamon-scented!
What you need:
• 6 medium-sized apples
• 1 ½ cups water
• 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• 1/8 tsp ground cloves
• 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
What to do:
– Wash and peel the apples. Cut them in 12 slices each.
– Put them in a pan over medium heat and add the water.
– When it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and add the lemon, spices and sugar. Let it cook for 30 minutes.
– Remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.
– Using a hand blender, puree the apples until you have a smooth applesauce.
– Let it cool completely and put it in jars.
– Store it in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks. Alternatively you can put it in freezer bags and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
– You can use any kind of apples you like. Each one will give different texture, smoothness and sweetness to your applesauce. You can even try mixing them. And if you have organic apples, even better!
– If you don’t like the dark-colored spots from the spices in your applesauce you can leave them out and instead use cinnamon sticks and/or whole cloves that you’ll remove before you use the hand blender.
– The amount of water has been used with different kinds of apples and has been proven enough for all of them. However, you can always add some warm water during blending if you think it’s not as smooth as you like.
– You can use applesauce as a substitute for butter in your baking recipes. Substitute one stick of butter with half a cup of applesauce. The result will be more moist cakes or cookies and so much healthier!
– Applesauce can be a wonderful edible, homemade gift. “Dress up” your jar with your own unique taste and present it to your loved ones. It’s full of love, health and care!