Monday, September 20, 2010
It's apple season. That means weekend trips to apple orchards to take a hayride out into the tree thickets, munching on delicious fruit straight from the tree as you forage for apples that have somehow escaped the notice of apple-pickers past. A breeze drifts by and you notice a slight chill in the air. There are children and parents carefully selecting large pumpkins from a hay-strewn patch.
This story almost always ends the same way. Caught up in the romantic notion of autumn, surrounded by flowering trees and with apples practically falling at your feet, you buy a bag. Perhaps you buy a 20 pound bag. And then you get home, and you stare at the bag of apples you've bought, and you think: What the heck am I going to do with these?
I have yet to finish my own apples from last weekend off, and I only took one-third of the bag that my cousin, her boyfriend, and I bought. But for a start, I decided to try making applesauce. And then, halfway through cooking it, I decided to make half of it blueberry applesauce because....well, just because. Because I had blueberries, and I was curious. And oh, am I glad I did...
Both versions of this turned out to be delicious. You can add more or less sugar (even no sugar!) depending on your own taste and how sweet your apples are on their own. Mine were a bit tart, so I went the sugar route. But you don't have to follow this recipe exactly. Let it tell you what to do. And if you don't want the blueberries? Leave 'em out! Or add your own favorite fruit, and see what happens.
6 medium-large apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 cup water
up to 1/4 cup brown sugar
up to 1/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice OR 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 sticks cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of vanilla extract (if desired - make sure it's gluten-free!)
1 cup frozen blueberries, rinsed
Place everything but the blueberries into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until the apples are becoming very soft. Adjust the spices and sugar to your own taste. Add the blueberries and stir well. Continue to simmer for another 10 - 15 minutes until the fruit is falling apart. Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher or a fork.
If desired, serve warm over ice cream or cake, or serve chilled.