Thursday, November 5, 2009

Applesauce Three Ways and a Giveaway

When it comes to apple season we are lucky to live in Minnesota, especially the Twin Cities area. So many wonderful varieties of apples are grown here and, thanks to the University of Minnesota, so many varieties are also developed here. They developed the very popular Honeycrisp & this year's starlet, the Sweet Tango.
Sweetango Apple
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.
#278 - At the Apple House
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

All Sauces
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...

Raspberry Applesauce
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.

Chai Applesauce
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.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski


Lori said...

Your applesauce looks amazing! Thanks for posting the info on the vanilla beans. My selection where I am at are just not that great. It's nice to have alternatives. I would love to try some of the beans also.

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

FABULOUS applesauce varieties!!

I could always use some ground cinnamon - it's not that easy to find around here!

Stacy and Brian's Adventures in Life said...

Kat, thanks for sharing! Homemade applesauce reminds me of my great-grandma who was a superb canner (a trait I have yet to master).
I can NEVER find vanilla beans! Very frustrating! Their vanilla coffee sounds wonderful. I might have to pick some up for the holidays. Enjoy! Stacy

Sarah said...

homemade applesauce=YUM! i need to try some of these varieties, for sure! and i agree with the above comment--i always have trouble finding vanilla beans...would love some of those :)

Fresh Local and Best said...

I think it's exciting that you get to try new varieties of apples! How neat to be so close to the development of new hybrids. I was pleasantly surprised to discover honey crisps only two years ago, and since it has become my favorite!

TKipp said...

Love your site, found it through our CSA, but I've never commented. Your galette recipe is one of my boyfriend's favorites and we make it on a regular basis - I'm jealous that you get so much time to cook. The vanilla paste sounds interesting - would love to try.

Liz B. said...

We make low-tech applesauce around here--nothing but apples! But the raspberry sounds fabulous and I think my family would probably enjoy peach as well. Those vanilla beans looks great! Thanks for the chance at your giveaway.

Anonymous said...

Love your site, and have finally started trying some of your recipies - at least parts of them integrated into my own creations:) I'd like to try the vanilla beans, please.


grace said...

mmm. honeycrisp is my new favorite apple.
mmm. chai spices in sweet applesauce sounds amazing.
mmm. i do love a giveaway. :)

Christeen said...

Started following your blog recently. Love the recipes on here! Thanks for the advice on the apples, there's an orchard close to here and now I know what to ask for. The vanilla beans would be a wonderful addition to my pantry. I love the flecks of vanilla in sugar, ice cream, etc.

Lo said...

Nothing like apple sauce in the autumn, is there? We've been making roasted apple sauce at our house. Love the way the flavors concentrate! So much natural sweetness there, you don't even need sugar.

As for the giveawy -- how fun. And Oh, yum! That vanilla bean paste would be fabulous.

Kristin said...

Looks like you're on a chai kick ; ) The vanilla applesauce sounds really good to me!! (the others do too, but vanilla is probably my favorite flavor of anything!!)

Ranee @ Arabian Knits said...

We're making pear sauce here.

As for the vanilla, it's hard to say. I make our own vanilla extract and sugar, so the vanilla beans are the most useful for that, but I am intrigued by the vanilla paste.

Kassy said...

Your applesauce looks great! I agree...we are pretty lucky to live here in mn! I would really like to try the vanilla bean paste!

Unplanned Cooking said...

I've read so much about the Sweet Tango. Can't wait to try it!

George Gaston said...

kat... the applesauce base is excellent and neat that one can incorporate different flavors into it. There is nothing better than homemade apple sauce. Thanks for this recipe.

I looked at Singing Dog Vanilla's website and I would love to try their PURE VANILLA EXTRACT. It is something that I use a lot (well really only use pure). Sounds like they have some great products.

Tiff said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I would like to try the vanilla paste.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your recipes and ideas, Kat and Matt. I am excited to make some raspberry applesauce with some fresh frozen raspberries still in my freezer. I've never cooked with fresh vanilla beans before but I would love to try it out with some of Singing Dog's Gourmet Vanilla Beans. Thanks for the opportunity!

Anonymous said...

i had a huge surplus of apples from the orchard earlier this fall - okay, so my eyes got the best of me. how can you say no to 10 pounds for $5?

needless to say, i made the vanilla applesauce tonight! it's in a little bowl right next to my computer right now! it is to DIE for! i am a huge vanilla fiend; i put it in everything. i love beans and buy them constantly. i've had good luck with penzey's and i like their airtight tube they come in but they are incredibly expensive. if these internet beans are as wonderful as you say they are, i'd LOOOOOVE to try them!

THANKS for these recipes! i am probably going to make a big vat of that vanilla applesauce for my family thanksgiving. i can't even tell you how wonderful it is :)

Megan said...

I just finished the last of my homemade applesauce but now I want to make more and flavor it. Thanks for all the flavors. I would go for the Vanilla Bean Paste. I love that stuff.

cardboardbelts said...

Hey, I've been following your site for awhile (I really like the CSA round-up!), and this giveaway is awesome. Vanilla paste seems like a handy item. :)


Cheryl R said...

Your applesauce looks great. Thanks for the link. Can't have enough shopping links.

NikiTheo said...

Vanilla Paste!! I've never tried that before!


Vanilla extract. I've been using Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla and really like it.

Lovely site.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for the flavor ideas! I often make homemade applesauce but usually just stick to cinnamon and nutmeg. I'd like to enter the contest you mentioned (vanilla beans).

Have a great weekend!

PG said...

If they last that long, I think I'll make some applesauce. Getting tired of apple-flavoured desserts. Really like the raspberry recipe -- they're just so expensive now.

Jess said...

I'm so excited that you shared your applesauce recipe. My sister is going to spend the weekend with me, and she wanted to do some baking/cooking while she's here. I think we'll definitely look into making some homemade applesauce - especially the raspberry. Mmmm.

I looked at the different products, too, and I'm really intersted in the vanilla paste. Holiday cupcakes with vanilla buttercream? Maybe.

Vicki said...

I can't believe I've never made my own applesauce. I bet it would be great with the vanilla bean paste.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog since I followed a link to it last summer from the Harmony Valley CSA site. It's fun to read especially when I was getting the same veggies you were--often when I needed ideas on what to do with the stuff in the CSA box, I checked to see what you did with it(unfortunately I wasn't able to join the CSA in 2009, so it wasn't as easy this year).

I've tried some of your non-CSA recipes,too, and the Coconut-Lime Cupcakes were such a hit here that I made them (plus one other kind) for my daughter's wedding this past May!

I cooked with a real vanilla bean for the very first time last week. I could not believe how incredibly good a simple vanilla cupcake tasted, even when made with a somewhat dried-up vanilla bean that had been left over from something my daughter made ages ago. So I would love to win some plump, fresh vanilla beans! Thanks for the blog and the chance to win something. my email is edith schmedith @ hotmail. com (without the spaces)

Deborah said...

I'm glad you re-mentioned the pomegrante applesauce - I still have some juice in my fridge and I keep wondering what I'm going to do with it.

Carol in Indian Springs Village said...

The applesauce looks wonderful. I am planning on getting some honeycrisp this week myself. You are lucky to live so near where they develop types of apples! I would love to try the Vanilla beans; I've not cooked with any but would love to give it a try.

Kerri said...

Hi, long-time lurker finally lured by the giveaway. Thank you for always having such delicious, fresh ideas for meals on here.

(And your bacon chocolate cupcakes are still the talk of my supper club; this after an eight-course meal that included a bacon dessert flight. You stole the show!)

Anyway, I'd love some beans if I'm chosen.

K_E_Kennedy [at] yahoo ... well, you know the rest.


Jennifer said...

Oh my gosh, I would love to try the Vanilla Bean Paste! What an easy way to add real vanilla to recipes!

Lori said...

So glad you retweeted this. One, because I missed your applesauce recipe post! They all sound so great. Two, because I would love to try out that vanilla bean paste. Although I can't say I'd be opposed to any of the items. They look wonderful.

I'm jealous of all the wonderful apples up there, but central KY isn't doing too badly in that area. We have a couple great orchards here that I love come October.

Missy in Nebraska said...

I found your blog when looking for a zucchini pickle recipe. Lo and behold I have apples to use up too! Your vanilla applesauce sounds FANTASTIC. I have never cooked with real vanilla beans but would LOVE to. Vanilla beans are not available locally (nor within 75 miles). Great site! Thanks for the recipe's! my e-mail is

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