I have a confession to make…I’m a bit of a rebel.
You see, I rarely ever peel my fruits or vegetables.
I know it’s not quite the scandal you were expecting, but it’s true. I often leave the peel on for a couple reasons:
- I like the nutrition (fibre, antioxidants, and other nutrients that usually hang out in this part of the fruit or vegetable);
- I really crave the texture in recipes that lack it;
- I prefer not to add extra work if I don’t have to (in other words, I’m lazy!).
I’m such a rebel that even recipes that always call for peeling a particular fruit or vegetable don’t get peeled by me. Or anyone for that matter in case you are suddenly wondering whether I have a secret personal chef whose sole job is to peel my fruits and vegetables (I wish… I would rely on him/her for much more than just peeling my fruits and vegetables).
I’m such a rebel that if I were to make you an apple pie today, I wouldn’t peel the apples. Nope. I wouldn’t. And I like you. Yet you would probably still love me for my pie.
Well, let’s make apple pie another day, okay? Today we’re making some comforting homemade applesauce. It’s a perfect midday or mid-afternoon snack, sweet treat or compliment to breakfast. It can stand in for some or all the oil and/or sweetness in baked goods (cakes, muffins, etc.) You can even throw it in smoothies to add creaminess.
Applesauce can also be a finger-licking food for babies, especially since apples contain two types of fibre (soluble and insoluble) so they help promote regular, healthy movement of the bowels. A few words of advice: make sure the applesauce is well mashed, peel the apples if you aren’t using a strong food processor or blender, and use only apples (no need for added sugar, lemon juice or other spices if this is baby’s first food). Follow the advice of your health care provider or pediatrician about when to introduce this to your little darling.
I like homemade recipes because you always get to control what goes in them (and of course what doesn’t). This is a model I can really get behind! Honestly, it takes much less time than driving to the grocery store, finding a parking spot, finding the right aisle and picking a brand, finding the rest of whatever foods you may have come for, paying for them (in probably a long line), driving home, and finally putting said items away.
So we’ll make some applesauce because local apples are almost ready and it kicks the butt of any commercially packaged applesauce.
- 3 to 4 cored if desired, I prefer sweeter varieties like Royal Gala and Honeycrisp because they provide their own sweetness and allow you to reduce the amount of sugar you add, peeled and chopped apples
- 3/4 cup water more may be required depending on your heat and the variety of apples used
- Juice of 1/2 lemon*
- Optional: 2-3 tablespoons sweetener* or more to taste, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc.
- Optional: spices like ginger I like 1/4 tsp of 1-2 spices, cinnamon, allspice or nutmeg* to taste
- *Omit if making applesauce for baby.
Over medium heat, simmer the apples with the water, and the lemon juice and sweetener if making the regular recipe. Stir frequently to keep the apples from sticking and burning.
After about 10 to 15 minutes, the apples will have started to break down and soften. If they are sticking to the pan, you can add a bit more water and continue cooking until the apples have broken down completely (for a smooth texture) or almost (for a chunkier texture). Add any spices you wish to add.
From here, you have two choices: puree in a food processor or blender (for a super smooth texture) or mash with a potato masher (for a chunkier texture). Depending on the consistency of your apples at this time, you may even skip this step.
Enjoy feeding yourself and your loved ones homemade applesauce!
A few side notes about this recipe:
– Although I do not peel my apples, you don’t have to be a rebel like me. Peel away if you prefer a completely smooth texture. As I mentioned, I like keeping the peel for fibre and texture and if your apples are red, they will add a lovely pinkish colour to the end result, which I find appealing (I almost wrote: ap-peel-ing but luckily restrained myself). If you keep the peels on, I highly recommend buying organic as apples are on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list (the 12 fruits and vegetables most likely to be contaminated with pesticides).
– I usually don’t add sweetener because I just sweeten whatever I’m using the applesauce in, which makes it easier to control the total sugar in the final dish… however, if you plan to eat the applesauce as is, I recommend adding at least a bit of sweetener because this can be fairly tart without it and certainly less sweet than the typical grocery store brand you may be used to.
Eat this applesauce plain, or on top of yogurt and granola, or ice cream. With pork or without. Go to town and tell your friends how much fun it was making your own applesauce.
What’s your favourite secret way to eat applesauce?
Life is a plate… eat up!