10.13.11 Them Apples

Apples 1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
Mark Bittman posted one of his great roundups of recipes in the Times Magazine this weekend, featuring less-expected ways to eat apples. I'm particularly taken with the cheesy apple fritters and that apple tempura! I'm prone to tossing diced apple into lots of salads—with oil-cured tuna, with walnuts and blue cheese, with all kinds of herbs. And when I make oatmeal, I always grate an apple into the pot. This really supports good digestion. We have a big old apple tree on our property at the lake, and it's covered with mottled green fruit that looks dubious but tastes great. Our friend Julia up the road has an orchard of craggy old trees that produce a lot of fruit, including some of the most flavorful red apples ever and a few pears, too. I've already eaten some super-crunchy and juicy Honey Crisps this year, and I'm a big fan of the Pink Lady with its wonderfully tangy sweetness. There are so many things to be made with all these apples, from pies, crumbles, betties and cakes to butter, fritters, cider...and, pedestrian as it may sound, applesauce.
Julias apples 790 xxx
beautiful red apples from julia's trees
Fruit 790 xxx
an artist's palette
The thing is, applesauce—an innocuous childhood favorite—is only as dull as you make it. By starting with a mix of delicious organic apples, you're already ahead. Then there are so many things you can add in: raisins, cranberries, orange zest, lemon zest, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, honey, maple syrup, pecans, walnuts, cider, calvados, port...not all of them, of course, but a choice few.
Cooking apples 790 xxx
golden (and) delicious
You don't have to peel the apples, but I tend to like the way the peeled chunks break down into a pleasingly soft goop. I threw some pears into this recent batch, along with fresh ginger, just-grated nutmeg and a couple of spoonfuls of calvados. I love eating it warm, maybe with a spoonful of creamy yogurt.
Applesauce 790 xxx
a saucy rendition
Some people like it pureed to a very smooth texture, but I prefer a chunky style.
Bowl 790 xxx
a bowl of freshly made applesauce (with pears)
Applesauce is perfection on its own, or stirred into hot cereal; spooned over yogurt; in baked goods, where it can replace other liquids; with pork; with pancakes and waffles; and even with ice cream. Don't let this season (or this week) go by without whipping up a big batch. It's easier than pie.

Ginger-Honey Applesauce

makes about 4 cups
  • — 1/2 teaspoon (total) ground nutmeg, cinnamon or cardamom, or a combination
  • — 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • — 1/3 cup raw wildflower honey
  • — 1/2 cup apple cider
  • — 3 pounds assorted fall apples (substitute a few pears if you like)
  • — pinch sea salt
  • — 2 tablespoons calvados, optional

Peel, core and roughly chop apples. Toss with a little lemon juice so they don't discolor.

Combine apples with remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until they are soft and beginning to break down, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher to achieve desired consistency.

Eat warm, at room temperature or cold. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Download recipe  Download Recipe


your house smells wonderful, I'm sure..the photos are gorgeous..thanks for this...can't wait to try it : ) honey and ginger added, luv it!
Kristen on October 13, 2011 at 7:08 am —
Enjoy it, Kristen! So perfect for this time of year.
laura on October 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm —
I have a bunch of apples I really need to use, and this looks like the perfect recipe to make in the next couple days! Glad I found this one!! Hope you're having a great January!
The Wimpy Vegetarian on January 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm —
I'm happy you reached back into the archives and found this! Judy Rodgers' oven-roasted applesauce also looks like a good one.
laura on January 17, 2012 at 3:15 am —
I've made this recipe at least a dozen times. Always have to come back here to recheck the details. Keep up the great work with this wonderful blog.
Mily on September 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm —
Thanks for being a loyal reader! Enjoy your applesauce!
laura on September 11, 2012 at 12:00 am —