No Forbidden Fruit: Life-Changing Applesauce Recipe
In her book The Fruit Forager’s Companion, author Sara Bir encourages readers to embrace the magic of hunting for foraged fruit—delivering a how-to guide devoted to the secret, sweet bounty just outside our front doors. Bir, a seasoned chef, gardener, and forager, primes readers on foraging basics, demonstrates gathering and preservation techniques, and shares nearly 100 recipes—including an applesauce with a big promise (below).
The following recipe is from The Fruit Forager’s Companion. It has been adapted for the web.
Makes about 2 quarts (1.9 L)
Homemade applesauce has a velvety texture and complex flavor that blows the store-bought stuff out of the water. It’s the perfect destination for gleaned apples, because blemishes don’t matter. Better yet, if you have a food mill, there’s no need to peel anything. Cooking red apples with their peels on adds a rosy hue.
I’ve had great success using the mottled Golden Delicious apples from the tree in my friend’s backyard—that sauce has an incredible body, and it’s just sweet enough that I barely have to add sugar. Make a huge batch of applesauce and can or freeze it, but that might not be necessary with a smaller batch; you’ll be surprised how quickly this gets gobbled up.
5 pounds (2.25 kg) apples, rinsed and quartered (peel and core the apples if you won’t be using a food mill)
Up to 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar or honey, optional
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional
Toss the apples into a large, nonreactive pot (such as stainless steel or enameled cast iron) with at least a 5-quart (5 L) capacity. Add enough water to come up the sides of the pot by 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm). Cover and set over medium heat. Once you hear the water boiling, uncover the pot and stir every few minutes, adding a little more water if the apples start to stick to the bottom. Lower the heat, a bit at a time, to maintain a simmer. As the apples cook down, you’ll need to stir more often. Some apples will release more liquid than others, so both the cooking time and the amount of water you’ll need to add will vary.
Once the apples have totally collapsed (anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour), pass them in batches though a food mill set over a large bowl (alternatively, push the apples through a colander with a large wooden spoon). Taste the applesauce; if it’s too tart, add some sugar or honey in small increments. You may not need any at all. If the sauce tastes flat, add a little lemon juice.
Let the sauce cool before refrigerating or freezing. The applesauce will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for about a week. To can the applesauce, pack the hot sauce into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) headspace. Seal and process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.
Note: I always make applesauce in a pressure cooker. The end result will be the same, but a few of the steps are different. Put the apples and 1 cup water in the cooker. Lock on the lid, bring to high pressure, and reduce the heat to maintain pressure. Cook for 6 minutes, letting the pressure come down naturally. Carefully remove the lid; the apples should be quite soft, but if they’re not, cook at high pressure in 2-minute increments until they are.
Spoon off and reserve the excess cooking liquid, if there is any. Mash with a potato masher or puree or do whatever you like to do to make your apples into applesauce, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid if you need to make it saucier. Taste and adjust the flavor by adding sugar and/or lemon juice.
Also Try With: You can also get all mixy-matchy and throw in some pears, Asian pears, crab apples, or quince along with the apples.
From gathering items from the woods during your morning walk to using homemade chevre in your risotto to fermenting your own bubbly, there’s something about working for your supper that makes it so much more delicious when you finally get to tuck in. If you’re looking to really earn your Thanksgiving dinner this year, then…Read More
It may seem as though Thanksgiving dinner gets all the attention what with the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, but the reality is, dessert is where it’s at. Warm apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese (don’t knock it till you try it!), perfectly moist cakes with delectable frostings, pumpkin cheesecake…we could go on…Read More
If you’re looking for something new and different to serve this Thanksgiving, Chef Evan Mallett of the Black Trumpet restaurant in Portsmouth, NH has some ideas. From his book, Black Trumpet, Mallett has selected three traditional, New England-inspired dishes that are sure to add some new flavors to your Thanksgiving feast. These recipes are adapted…Read More
Thanksgiving is a time for tradition, but are you tired of the same old side dishes taking up space on the table? Have you had enough cranberry sauce and stuffing that you can’t even look at them anymore? If you said yes, then your taste buds will be overjoyed with these wonderful new recipes from…Read More
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and you know what that means. It’s turkey time! Or maybe not? If you’re looking to spice things up for this year’s holiday feast we’ve got you covered. From a delectable pork tenderloin to Spicebush Goose, these recipes are sure to delight everyone at your table. Even those passionate…Read More