22 October 2009

Pink Applesauce

I first discovered pink apples last fall. I purchased some Pink Pearl apples from a local orchard, which looked perfectly ordinary with their pearly pale green skin, but promised to reveal red flesh underneath. They certainly did. I made pink applesauce for my daughter, and she was so thrilled with it, she asked me to make it again this year.

So I drove back to the same orchard (which has an amazing array of apple varieties) only to find that I was too late for the Pink Pearls. Luckily, they had another red flesh variety just on its way out--Hidden Rose. See what I mean? It looks like an ordinary apple. But when you cut into it and see pink juice bubbling up through the cut, you know you're in for something special.I promise you, none of these photos have been enhanced in any way. Normally I fix up my photos with a little Photoshop help, but these I intentionally left unedited. Isn't that red flesh amazing?

Do you know how easy it is to make applesauce? You cook the apples with a little water or apple cider and mash them. That's it. Well, there's peeling and coring and rough chopping involved, too, but it's so worth it. Here are my Hidden Rose apples, peeled, cored, and thrown in a big pot with a little water in the bottom. I'd say probably 2 cups water to 5lbs apples, but I never measure. You just need enough water to produce steam and so the apples don't burn. Heat on high until the water boils...

...then turn the heat down to medium, cover, and simmer. Check in 10 minutes--they'll either need to be stirred or they may already be done.
You can tell they're done when all the apple pieces mash easily with your spoon. We like our applesauce chunky, so I just stir the cooked apples a bit and let them cool. If you prefer your applesauce more uniform and saucy, you can run the cooled apples through a food mill or blender. A potato masher would give you a consistency somewhere in between--mostly saucy with small chunks. (Your apple choice can affect the texture, too. If you choose a crisp apple, you're more likely to get chunks than if you choose a variety that tends to be mushier--like a Red or Golden Delicious.)
To store, place cooled applesauce in sealable containers and keep in the refrigerator. I make multiple batches and freeze them. Applesauce can also be canned, but if you're a canner, you already know that. Oh, and some people add sugar and/or cinnamon to their applesauce, but I prefer to leave mine plain. Even the tart apples sweeten up a bit when cooked. Mmmm...lovely.


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