It was a late start to winter this year. The leaves didn’t begin to turn until well into October, way beyond the normal fleeing time of mid-September when they lose their hold and float to the ground. The smell of apples and pumpkins saturated the country air long after the turkey had been carved into leftover sandwiches. And when the leaves finally did fall they left a tableau of unpicked golden globes suspended from silhouetted dark gnarly branches against a snowy landscape like Christmas ornaments on Halloween trees. With no available budget to decorate the house during the Christmas season, Rick’s ingenuity had us collect the apples and turn them into beautiful wreathes and centerpieces for the dining table. As the holiday waned and the needles began to fall from the tree, the apples started their shriveling decline. In an attempt to be green, both environmentally and economically, I decided not to throw them out but to use them to make applesauce. We may be poor but we can still eat well. Here's my recipe for apples on the verge of collapse.
MY RECIPE FOR THE BEST APPLESAUCE:
Making anything, especially in the kitchen, will take longer than you think if you’re like me and need to consult “Cooking for Dummies” when it comes to boiling water. So if you cook like me plan on about an hour and a half from start to finish.
Approximately 4 lbs of apples just on the verge of going bad
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1/4 cup of pure cane sugar
Several cinnamon sticks (the Mexican kind are the best)
A small handful of cloves
One cup of water
The peel of one lemon stripped with a vegetable peeler
The juice from that same lemon
A dash of salt
First quarter and core all of your apples. Leave the skins on (its were you’ll find most of the flavor). Then cut them into smaller pieces and dump them into a pot.
Peel the skin off your lemon and add that to the pot, then squeeze in the lemon juice.
Now dump all of the remaining ingredients into the pot and give it a couple of stirs.
Place the pot on the stove, cover it, and bring the whole thing to a boil.
After the contents come to a boil turn the heat down to simmer and leave for 25 minutes stirring a few times.
When the apples start to look like mush, take the pot off the stove and pick out the cloves, lemon rind and cinnamon sticks, they were there for flavor not for consumption.
Take a potato masher and beat the heck out of the remaining mixture.
You can serve it hot or cold. I prefer mine warm with a big scoop of vanilla yogurt. If you live on the wild side you can spike your sauce with some brandy. Store what you don't eat in the fridge or if you aren't going to devour it in next thirty days put the whole thing in your freezer. It’ll last in there for up to a year. Bon Appetit!
When life presents you with shriveled apples, make the best of it.