Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Saucy Lady

By the end of the holiday weekend, I had no more energy left to deal with the Paula Red apples I had bought at the farmers' market on Saturday. The only trouble with putting the applesauce project off a few days was that a few apples already showed signs of bruising or other damage, and I knew I needed to get busy soon.

I didn't wait long. The first chance I got, I headed into the kitchen to halve, core, and chop the apples and toss them into a pot with lemon juice and just enough water to keep the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the pan. (According to Stocking Up, for every 4 lbs. apples, use 1 c water and 1/4 c lemon juice.)

I turned up the heat and let the apples simmer for 20 minutes, and they gradually softened into a fragrant, pulpy mess.

Cup by cup, I ladled the apples into my chinois and slowly pressed all the sauce out of the fruit, leaving only the skins behind.

Since I had a very large basket of apples and had several apples left over after filling the pot, I made a second batch of applesauce, adding cinnamon bark, whole cloves, and a couple pieces of home-dried orange peel as well as about 1/4 c local honey for a spiced applesauce. The fragrance rising from the pot reminded me of mulled cider and the joys of the end of the harvest season... not so far away, now!

Once all the apples had been cooked down and sauce, I filled jars (6 1/2 pints) and ran them through the hot water bath for 20 minutes.

I have to tell you, I am very pleased with the results -- I think this was my best batch of applesauce ever! The sauce turned out thick and velvety, not somewhat watery like most of my previous attempts, and by leaving the skins on the apples, the sauce took on a faint pink blush.

Normally I only make one batch of applesauce each year, but I am tempted now to make another batch in coming weeks after the success of this one.

And I admit to feeling a little more saucy than usual today.



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