The apple of my eye...Part 1
The months of September and October in this part of the world means apple season. Many New Yorkers (the city folk) will make their annual pilgrimages to points north in order to spend a day apple-picking in their favorite orchard.
For me it means getting a huge bucket of apples from the Rose home. My parents happen to have quite a few older apple trees in their yard that yield so many apples in some years that Mama Rose can be found giving buckets to every person she meets (I’m not totally kidding here).
Looking at my bucket exploding with apples, I had to think quick with what I was going to do with them before they started to go bad. Since they are MacIntosh apples, they’re really not great for baking pies (Mama Rose has made several attempts, no luck). They are, however, great for applesauce.
Applesauce is also so simple and easy to make. It can be jarred and then gifted to friends and family.
I’ve been in a "spice mood" recently and I really wanted to do something different with my applesauce. I hate to use this phrase (since I find him pretty irritating as a food personality), but I wanted to “kick it up a notch”. I looked on my spice shelf and pulled out a few of the usual suspects. I peeked into the fridge, but found nothing interesting to add. Then I opened the freezer and there it was, my farmer’s market jalapeño pepper. Perfect!
I found that this "spiced up" version makes a great topping for plain low-fat yogurt or just a snack by itself.
Rose’s Spiced Applesauce
This recipe does not really have measurements because it’s all about taste preferences. Some people like a whole lot of spice and some don’t. I prefer to use the jalapeño pepper, but if you have a favorite type of pepper, go for it and change it up. I used about one pepper for every 8 medium-large apples.
Since this year’s crop turned out really sweet, I didn’t even have to add sugar, but if your apples aren’t as sweet, you can always add it after the initial boil.
Apples (peeled, cored and diced)
Jalapeño peppers (finely chopped with seeds removed)
1. Place the apples and jalapeno peppers into a pot. Fill the pot with water till it reaches the top layer of apples. Place pot on stove and turn on high heat. When the water starts to boil, turn it to low heat and allow it to simmer (stir occasionally) until all the apples are very soft and mushy.
2. The simmer time depends on how many apples and water was added, but the sauce should reduce to 3/4 of the initial volume. While it simmers, add cinnamon, nutmeg (and sugar) to your desired taste. You can also mash the apples with a ricer (a tool used for mashing potatoes) at this point or wait till the water level reduces.
3. The sauce should reduce to about 2/3 of the original volume (or even a bit less). Allow the it to cool before placing in jars or cans.