From Orchard to Applesauce

I love apples; I really do. I frequently begin my day with an apple and then proceed to go on a walk, run, or weight train. I feel like I perform better on the days when I eat an apple. I can't find any scientific proof or reason to defend that position, so let's just call it "my thing". If you continue to read my blog posts, you'll notice a lot of "my things". Call them quirks if you want, I don't mind a bit.

So, about those apples...Here in Minnesota, it's apple picking time. Unfortunately I don't have an apple tree in my yard, so each year for the past few years, I take my children to an organic apple orchard where we spend a few hours picking apples, looking around the farm, and chatting with whomever we come across. 

 

The trek to the orchard

The trek to the orchard

The orchard we visit is part of a biodynamic farm that utilizes animals and crop rotation to maximize outputs while maintaining soil health. Every time we visit, I learn something new from the owners and stewards of the land. 

 

Chickens eating fallen apples and bugs and fertilizing the ground. 

Chickens eating fallen apples and bugs and fertilizing the ground. 

This year we decided to pick the SweeTango apples, a cross between the Honeycrisp and Zestar varieties. They are sweet to the taste but crisp. A great eating apple and great for making applesauce too. 

I'm not sure how many pounds we ended up with, probably about 10 or so. Picking solo with three little ones is a bit of a juggling act. The key to satisfaction in this scenario is to leave all expectations at the door. If we leave with enough to eat during the week and that's all, it was a great experience. If we leave with enough to eat and make applesauce, it was a great experience and a fun project. If we leave with enough to eat, make applesauce with and freeze; who am I kidding, then I probably went alone.  

As it turned out, the kiddos were feeling it,  and we not only had a few to nibble on there,  but to make applesauce with as well; 3 quarts worth. We all left happy and the kitchen smells fantastic. Below I've included my very simple recipe for no sugar added applesauce.

 

Boiled down, spices added, blended smooth

Boiled down, spices added, blended smooth

Ingredients: 

Apples ( about 10#)

Cinnamon (3TB)

Lemon (1 TB)

Sea Salt (1 tsp)

Water (4 cups)

Directions:

1. Core apples, cutting out any bruises and blemishes

2. Put apples into large stockpot and cover halfway with water

3. On medium heat, cook apples until soft

4. Add lemon juice, sea salt, and spives

5. Using immersion blender, blend all ingredients together until smooth

6. On very low heat, allow sauce to thicken and flavor to infuse

7. Turn off heat and jar or allow to cool and freeze. 

 

All jarred up and a lovely shade of pink. 

All jarred up and a lovely shade of pink.