We like to go out to the University's Apple House to get our apples each fall. Not only do they have all the typical favorites but you can also try new varieties they are working on that don't even have names yet, just a number & flavor profile identify them. Maybe one of these will be the next big apple star.
A lot of varieties of apples will last through the winter in your fridge but we also like to make some into applesauce. Last year we made two flavors, Ginger Peach and Pomegranate. We experimented with three new flavors for this year, Raspberry, Chai, and Vanilla. All of them turned out really delicious. The Vanilla is the most basic of the flavors but the use of fresh vanilla makes it special (& like good vanilla ice cream it has flecks of vanilla seeds in it). The Chai has a lot of nice spice flavor to it. The Raspberry was really the star in my book with is beautiful color & sweet/tart flavor. I'm so glad I froze fresh raspberries this summer for this purpose.
A word about buying apples for making applesauce - If you buy your apples at an orchard don't bother paying for the 1st quality apples for making sauce, save those for eating. For this applesauce we bought a bag of what are called Utility apples which ran $4.50 for a peck. These apples aren't going to win any beauty contests but are perfect for making sauce. The variety we used was Fireside.
Applesauce Three Ways
3 lbs apples, cored & peeled (If you have a food mill you can skip peeling & run the sauce through the food mill to get rid of the skins, which is what I did)
1 c water
1/2 c sugar
1 T lemon Juice
Choose one of the following flavors...
2 c fresh or frozen raspberries
In a large heavy pot add the water, sugar & raspberries. Bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar & break down raspberries a bit. Turn off heat & let sit about 10 minutes. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds. Return raspberry mixture to the pot.
3 bags Stash Double Spice Chai
In a large heavy pot add the water, sugar & tea bags. Bring to a boil & stir to dissolve sugar. Turn off heat & let sit about 10 minutes. Remove tea bags , squeezing any liquid in them into the pot.
2 vanilla beans
1/2 t cinnamon
In a large heavy pot add the water & sugar. Slice the vanilla beans in half length-wise. Scrape the seeds into the pot of water & then throw in the beans as well. Bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Turn off heat & let sit 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla beans. Stir in the cinnamon
For All Versions
Cut the prepared apples into slices & add to the pot with your flavoring mixture. Turn the heat to medium-high. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft about 30 minutes. Use a spoon or potato masher to help smash the apples to a sauce texture. (If you left the skins on your apples run your sauce through a food mill at this point to remove them.) Stir in the lemon juice. If your sauce seems too thick for your liking add a little water to it.
At this point the sauce can be put into containers & refrigerated. Or you can put hot sauce into sterilized jars & can them in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes for pantry storage.
Makes about 5 cups.
I did mention a giveaway in the title of this post didn't I? Not too long ago I had run out of fresh vanilla beans & was looking for an online source to buy it. I hadn't been happy with the quality of the beans I'd been getting in the spice aisle of the grocery store not to mention the price. That's when I was contacted by the folks at Singing Dog Vanilla. They offered to send me a sample of one of their products to try & I jumped at the chance to try the vanilla beans. Their beans are organic & they offer two different varieties. These were so different than what you get at the grocery store, soft, plump & oh the smell when you open the bag is heavenly. They added amazing flavor to my Vanilla Applesauce.
They also wanted to offered one of my readers a chance to try one of their products. Visit their website & then comment on this post letting me know which item you would be most interested in trying; vanilla beans, vanilla paste, vanilla extract, coffee, cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon. I'll pick a winner on Friday, November 13th (oh scary!) & that winner will get their ingredient of choice. Don't forget to leave an email address in your comment where I can contact you if you win.
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© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski