Photo Credit: Adrienne Kane
Here in New England, apple season is in full swing. But growing up in California, apples were no big deal. Yes, we had them. Sure, they were crunchy and sort of flavorful, but they never really got me excited. But now that I am in New England, everyone relishes apples. They are at the farmers’ markets, in the grocery stores, at the orchards. It is as if everyone gets on the rooftops and yells: APPLES!
It took me a few years, but now I too have hopped on the apple bandwagon. My favorite apple adventure is to go picking—we usually go twice a season. The trees are lousy with fruit, the branches become weighed down with apples, and those that have not already fallen from the trees are ripe for the picking. And pick I do.
There is just something about the crisp fall air, trudging through orchards and sidestepping around piles of crushed apples, that makes me go a bit ga-ga. I always pick too many apples—about fifteen pounds too many. After I have given some to friends and eaten more than I care to mention out of hand, it’s time to start cooking with them. Applesauce is first on my list.
I don’t like a lot of other ingredients in my applesauce: just apples, a bit of honey, and maybe if I’m feeling racy, a sprinkling of cinnamon. I eat my sauce plain, dolloped on top of Greek yogurt, or I bake with it. Who knows, maybe if I’m feeling particularly adventurous, I could even throw in some dried cranberries. Next time.
4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into one-inch pieces
1/2 cup water, plus more if needed
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
Place the apples, water and pinch of salt in a lidded saucepan. Turn the stove to medium heat, cover the pan and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid; apples should appear soft. Spoon in the honey, stir and continue to cook uncovered, for about 5 minutes. If the pan appears dry, add another 1/4 cup water.
When stirring, apples should break down. If a smoother consistency is wanted, mash with a potato masher. Applesauce will stay in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week. This recipe also doubles, and even triples, well.
Adrienne Kane is a writer and photographer. She is the author of a memoir, Cooking and Screaming, and the food blog, nosheteria.com.