Almost Gam’s Applesauce

Almost Gam's ApplesauceFalling for Apples

I don’t know where the pumpkin spice craze started. And, now that there are Pumpkin Spice Triscuits available for your tasting pleasure, I think we have perhaps taken it a bit too far.

The funny thing is that I actually like the Pumpkin Spice flavor (scent/color/lifestyle). The occasional pumpkin spice latte can be just what the doctor ordered. But it is by no means the only flavor representative of Fall. If you ask me, the real flavor of Fall is apples.

If you have been anywhere near a produce market or stand recently you, I am sure, have seen that the apples have come in. There are the usual stand-by Fuji and Golden Delicious, of course. But, October has also ushered in the Jonagolds, Pippens, McIntoshs and Ambrosia apples with the Arkansas Blacks not too far behind.

I love apples. They’re crunchy. They’re sweet. They are an easy and portable snack. As a family, I think we go through at least three dozen a week—just grabbing one and eating it. And at this time of year, it is fun to try out all of the different varieties.

Not all the apples I buy are grab and go, though. Some are better suited for other things like cakes and crisps. And, the best use of apples to me, besides the obvious, is for applesauce.

Applesauce is great on it’s own, or on the side with a pork roast. Use it as a dipping sauce for some really great Vermont cheddar and you will thank me. Add some to a spice cake for added moisture. Spoon a little on your oatmeal…the list goes on. And of course, in my family, it goes on Ebelskiver!

My favorite applesauce was my grandmother’s. Unfortunately, her recipe has been lost along with her equally fantastic apple chutney recipe. And, I’ve looked everywhere to no avail. It was super chunky with a lot of cinnamon and raisins…maybe a little ginger.

Also, she was very specific about what apples she used. Gam’s applesauce was probably more of a compote that a sauce. It was pretty thick. I haven’t given up the search, though. I will find it. And when I do I’m making a big batch…

In the mean time, this is a close as I can get.

Almost Gam’s Applesauce
Makes about 2 1/12 quarts.

Ingredients
5 pounds (11-12) mixed baking and eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
1 stick cinnamon, plus 1 tsp. ground
1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
3⁄4 cup apple cider

Directions
Place all the ingredients in a six quart saucepan, over high heat, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook  until the apples have begun to break down (about 10 to 15 minutes).

Uncover the sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced by one third (about 1-1 1/2 hours). The sauce should be thick and amber-colored.

Finally, adjust the sweetness with honey to taste, if you find the sauce too tart. (Sweetness will depend on the varieties of apples you choose.)

Serve warm, can, or cool completely before refrigerating.

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