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Recipe Fri Sep 25 2009

Turning Apples Into Sauce

Applesauce cookingNow that the apples are starting to crowd out the peaches at many of Chicago's farmers markets, you may soon find yourself with a crisper drawer full of the red, green or yellow fruit. There are many delicious baked goods that feature apples, but one of the simplest and most satisfying things you can do with your bounty is make applesauce.

Applesauce finishedAccording to a friendly farmer at the Andersonville Farmers Market, its best to use a variety of apples if you're making sauce. Using just one kind of apple can make the sauce taste bland. At the market, you can ask to buy a quart or bushel's worth of a combination of different kinds. Most farmers will be happy to sell them this way.

My favorite version of applesauce is far from the baby-food-like slurry that comes in a jar at the supermarket. I like it chunky, with a strong cinnamon flavor. This kind of applesauce barely requires a recipe, but here's a rough one just to get you started:

Chunky Applesauce

3-4 lb. or so (whatever looks good) apples
1/2 cup or so apple cider
1 tablespoon or so lemon juice
hearty dash of cinnamon
small sprinkle of nutmeg

Cut the apples up into chunks. (I leave the skins on, but you can peel the apples beforehand if you like.) Combine all ingredients in a pot and cook over low heat until the apples are soft. (This may take a while, depending on the kinds of apples you use and the size of the chunks.) If you like your sauce kind of sweet, add a few tablespoons of sugar and cook until dissolved. If you prefer your sauce kind of mushy, take a potato masher to the pot and mash up some of the apples until you get your desired consistency.


amyc / September 29, 2009 6:24 AM

I also like to add a couple of diced pears for sweetness and texture.

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