Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tastes from the past - making my own applesauce

Applesauce brings back memories - for many of my generation it triggers terrible flashbacks to overly sweet mush in tiny plastic tubs emerging from in brown paper (or Strawberry Shortcake or Transformers themed) lunch bags, to be eaten or traded in the lunchroom at school. Applesauce might remind others of family, being served as part of Thanksgiving dinner. For me, I remember the tangy, almost too tart flavor of the Rhubarb Applesauce my Nana served me when we visited on Sundays. I miss it, and her.

This weekend I found myself at the farmers market with my parents staring at Bramleys Seedling apples, which were noted as being the consumate English cooking apple perfect for making applesauce. My new roommate had brought with him his Grandmothers Foley foodmill, just like the one my Nana used. And with that, we started down the path to making applesauce.

My dad remembered that unlike many recipes, my nana cooked her apples with the skin on and let the foodmill do the work. So that's how we did it.

We used the Foley foodmill, and it was truly satisfying to turn the crank & watch the apples disappear, leaving their skins behind.

I divided the spoils into little Pyrex bowl (just like Nana used to have!) and tried a few different ways to flavor the applesauce. Plain, no sugar added was good - but just a teaspoon of Turbinado sugar in 1-2 cups of sauce was a favorite. Light brown sugar lent a nice round sweetness, but that was improved with a dash of fresh lemon juice.

We tried stirring in 2-3 tablespoons of rhubarb sauce and a dash of fresh lemon juice into one, and a teaspoon of Turbinado sugar + a dash of cinnamon into another bowl. While it didn't have the zing of my Nana's Rhubarb Applesauce, it was very tasty, and low in processed sugar. I think if next time I add unsweetened stewed rhubarb, I might have a flashback to when I was sitting in a booster seat in my Nana's dining room enjoying a batch of her Rhubarb Applesauce.

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