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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Apples to Applesauce

My father had hundreds of apple trees. Challenged by an advisor who claimed he'd never grow apples as far North as we lived, he successfully created a beautiful and bountiful orchard. As a child, I helped plant the trees, prune them, mow around them, pick the apples, and sort and sell them. It was a lot of work, most of it done by my parents I am very sure, but also a very fun way to grow up. I've tasted just about every apple recipe in existance and a few that only exist in the minds of some really talented cooks. This one, is my from one of my greatest friends, my Grandma, who I call Norman. There is no recipe, I just learned from watching, and I've tried to recreate it here.


orchard apples--enough to fill the pot or crockpot your cooking the sauce in. A mix of apple varieties provides the best flavor. Go to your local orchard and buy second quality apples. Never buy first quality for cooking! Wash, quarter, core, peel, and slice into your pot. You can use one of those apple peeler things, but I think they leave too much core in the apple. Sit down, put on some good tunes, and while away an hour or so peeling apples. It can be a very peaceful, albeit hand cramping, time in your day!

Add a small amount of sugar--Norman always used lots of sugar, much more than I do, and I guess that's why her sauce is so good! I use less because of Young One, but also because I like a tarter sauce. It's important to add the sugar at the beginning of the cooking process so that it caramelizes.

Cook over low heat, stirring often, until apples are softened and a light brown color is achieved. I use my crock pot on high and stay close, because it gets done very quickly. I like to leave it slightly chunky. When Young One was a baby, I left the sugar out and cooked it until the apples completely fell apart.

Enjoy warm or cold. It's great with vanilla bean ice cream and a sprinkling of homemade granola.

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