ApplesauceA Change is in the Air

Ever have one of those moments where a sound or a scent transports you back to a favorite memory? That happened to me last Sunday morning and it made me smile because that moment told me, more accurately than any calendar could, that the Fall season is fast approaching.

Let me explain.

We have had some warm nights recently, so my husband and I have taken to sleeping with the window cracked a little bit to take advantage of any breeze that might blow our way. This is why on Sunday morning, I awoke to the sound of the freight train in the distance and a light breeze that had a cool bite to it. There is something about the sound of a train and a cool breeze that takes me back to waking up on Saturdays in Eugene, Oregon, with fallen leaves on the ground, the smell of a wood fire hanging in the air, and students walking along the Willamette River to Autzen stadium to watch the football game. In my mind there is nothing that paints a more accurate picture of the Fall season, and It happens every time I hear that train.

Even if the train thing hadn’t happened, I would know that Fall is upon us merely because I find myself buying a lot more apples, and using them for more that just school lunches. My favorite way to use the great seasonal apples that are now available is to make applesauce. We use applesauce a lot in my family. We eat it straight, or on pork, or even mixed into the pancake batter on the weekend. Sometimes, I spread some on a ham sandwich. (Yes, I’ve been known to do weird stuff like that.)

Below is my favorite recipe for applesauce from Alice Waters’ cookbook Chez Panisse Fruit––which is an incredible book, by the way. There couldn’t be an easier recipe, and it’s a perfect way to celebrate the beginning of Fall. 

Chez Panisse Fruit
by Alice Waters

Quarter and core tasty apples. I like to mix varieties and experiment. (Peel if you wish, but remember, the skin is also full of flavor.) Cut the quarters into 1/2-inch chunks.

Put the apples in a saucepan and add apple juice or cider to a depth of 1/2 inch. Simmer, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the apples are cooked through, soft, and translucent. If you like applesauce smooth, pass it through a food mill. Taste for sweetness; it may need a little lemon juice. Serve warm with a dollop of creme fraiche or with pan-fried pork chops.

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