It’s apple picking season, and while the dry weather has made the orchards less fruitful for picking, the markets have been full of apples and cider.
Applesauce is one of my favorite ways to use apples, other than sautéing for chia pudding or oatmeal. It’s comfort food, and tastes just as good warm as it does cold straight from the pot or in a cake… and it stores well, which has been a new project for me this year. Canned or frozen, you have save portions to reheat later in the winter when fruit is just not available.
Below is my go-to recipe that does have a long cook time, but is mostly hands off so it works for a cold day inside. To use the whole fruit, the second recipe allows you to use the peels to create a warming drink for the holiday season. Mixed with warm, spiced cider is the perfect way to end an evening in front of the fire.
ingredients – applesauce
15-17 apples, mixed in variety
½ cup apple cider or water
½ vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
juice of ½ lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Peel, core and cut the apples into quarters, saving the peels for the recipe below. Place the apples, apple cider or water and the vanilla bean if using into a dutch oven or a large heat safe baking dish.
Cover and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour until the apples break down. Mash with a potato masher, or if you prefer a completely smooth sauce, blend in batches until smooth, remembering that warm foods expand. Add the vanilla extract (if you didn’t use the bean) and lemon juice, and stir to combine.
If you’d like a more concentrated or thicker sauce, bake for another 30 minutes uncovered at 350 degrees. Cool before storing in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
ingredients – apple vodka
1 liter of your favorite vodka or bourbon
the apple peels of 1 batch of sauce
1/2” fresh ginger, sliced (optional)
2 pieces of clove (optional)
1- 2” cinnamon stick (optional)
In an airtight container like a large Weck or Ball jar, add the apple peels and any of the other aromatics you’d like. Pour in the vodka, creating no air bubbles in the jar. secure the lid and store for 1-2 weeks on the counter.
After that time period, strain the food matter from the vodka and store in a clean container for up to 3 months.