Now is a great time to take advantage of the season’s freshest apples. Look for varieties grown in your state, region, or bio region, from as close to home as possible. Your local farm stand or farmers’ market is one of the best places to shop for juicy, ripe, organic apples.
Have you had your apple today?
How many apples do you eat per week? An apple a day can keep a long list of problems at bay. Apples are a great source of vitamins, phytonutrients, and flavor. You can eat an apple out of your hand, add it to a green salad, a fruit salad, a smoothie, a freshly pressed green drink, a pumpkin, squash or carrot soup, a pot of oatmeal, a batch of muffins, and many other recipes.
6a00e552ad01da88340153940fdac1970b-320wiApplesauce beyond belief
If youve never had homemade applesauce, youre in for a treat. Its thicker, darker, and more concentrated in flavor than bottled storebought varieties and sweet without the addition of refined sweeteners if you use the recipe I’ve posted below. Once you try it you’ll be disappointed by the blandness and watery texture of the stuff sold in stores.
Besides eating applesauce as a side or dessert, you can use it to make fruit roll ups, to replace some of the fat or oil in muffins, cookies, cakes, and quickbreads, or to moisten meatloaf.
Holiday gift ideas
If you canning equipment and experience, you could can applesauce and use it for holiday gifts. If not, you could make apple sauce, refrigerate it, and share it with family and friends who live nearby (reminding them to refrigerate it as soon as possible). Homemade fruit roll ups (described above) also make great holiday gifts.
If you like the applesauce recipe below, consider ordering a copy of The Garden of Eating and/or The Ice Dream Cookbook for yourself and additional copies for holiday gifts for the people you care about most. You’ll find the applesauce recipe in both books and the dried apple chips and fruit roll ups in The Garden of Eating.
6a00e552ad01da88340154378834eb970c-320wiHomemade Applesauce       
Prep: 30 minutes/ Cooking: 15 to 45 minutes/ Yield: about 6 cups; 8 servings
Many of the cookie and bar recipes in The Ice Dream Cookbook call for apple sauce to add moisture without extra fat. Why make your own applesauce when you can buy it so readily? Homemade applesauce tastes better than anything from a can or bottle. It also costs less than organic, unsweetened apple sauce. You can sweeten it simply with apple juice or apple juice and stevia to make a satisfying snack, dessert, side dish, or baking ingredient.
Note: Try to make this during the fall and winter when you can get locally grown apples from an orchard, farmer’s market, or a natural foods store that supports local farmers.
If you must buy apples from out of state, select those grown as close to home as possible (from the U.S. if you live here, rather than imports from New Zealand). If you have the freezer space, make large batches, store in wide mouth jars, and freeze some for the months ahead, leaving at least 1-inch of space below the lip in the jar.
FYI: Use the timesaving variation below if you own a non-electric hand food mill (e.g., a Moulinex, Foley, Cuispro, Norpro, or other).
4 pounds sweet or tart-sweet apples (8 large to 12 medium), washed, cored, peeled, diced, one type:
Gravenstein, Yellow Newton, Pink Lady, Ginger Gold, Early Gold, Braeburn, Gala, Fuji, Cortland, Macoun,     Jonathan, or Jonagold
1 cup unsweetened apple juice or apple cider (do not use apple cider vinegar!)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ginger or apple pie spice
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt, optional
¼ to ½ teaspoon pure stevia extract powder or 1/4 to 1 teaspoon clear stevia extract liquid (start with less; add more if needed), optional

  • If using a pressure cooker, boil the juice down to reduce it to 1/2 cupful. Check it by pouring into a liquid measuring cup.
  • Combine all ingredients except stevia in a 6-quart stainless steel pressure cooker, a wide 3- to 4-quart saucepan, or a non-reactive Dutch oven.
  • To pressure cook: Lock the lid in place. Bring to full pressure, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.
  •  To boil: Cover and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until tender and jammy, 45 to 60 minutes. If too watery, remove lid and simmer to thicken.
  • For a coarse texture, mash the apples against the side of the pot with a wide wooden spoon or press and blend with a potato masher. For a smoother texture, purée the mixture in batches in a blender, Vita-Mix or a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
  • For either a smooth or coarse applesauce: For a sweeter taste, add the smallest amount of stevia listed above. Blend, taste, and repeat if needed.
  • Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Transfer the sauce to wide mouth jars or glass bowls that have covers. Cover when cool, and refrigerate. When cold to the touch, freeze what you don’t plan to use within 2 or 3 weeks, leaving at least 1 inch of at the top of the jar.
  • Serve cold or at room temperature, or warm briefly in a heatproof bowl in a toaster oven, or use the bowl the bowl-on-a-rack method (Page 000).

3/4 cup: 152 calories, 36 grams carbohydrate (6 grams fiber), 1 gram fat, 21 milligrams calcium, 1 milligram sodium

  • Wash apples, but don’t peel or core. Remove stems and cut fruit into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Combine ingredients and cook as above. Transfer cooked apples and pan juices to a food mill fitted with a medium disk. Purée, leaving skin, seeds, and core behind. Now taste and add the optional sweetener.
  • Change the spice: Omit ground spices from the recipe above,  then add one of the following

4 (3-inch) pieces of cinnamon sticks
2 to 3 pieces of star anise
4 (1/2-inch thick) slices of fresh gingerroot
or 4 whole cloves
Cook as above. Remove and discard cinnamon, star anise, and ginger or cloves before puréeing the cooked         sauce. Photo credit: Rachel Albert Copyright 2011©

  • Apple Apricot, Apple Peach, or Apple Cherry Sauce: Replace 1 pound of apples with pitted apricots, peaches, or sweet cherries.