In New England, fall is apple picking season. When you live in the city, the drive out to rural Massachusetts is like a mini-vacation. As soon as my car turns down that gravely dirt road leading into the orchard, I roll down my windows and listen to my wheels as they hit the little rocks and ditches underneath. I listen to the air – free of music or car horns or those terribly loud bus brakes that always seem to find me when I’m walking down the street. I get out, crunching my sneakers on the pebbles, take a huge gulp of fresh air, and walk into a wood-framed country store.
The farm stores are always full of old fashioned apple presses and knickknacks. If you’re lucky, there will be a counter. And behind that counter, cider donuts and freshly dipped caramel apples. If you’re even luckier, and you’ve done your research, you may get a whiff of the BBQ pit outside where you can buy pulled chicken or pork sandwiches, slathered with apple BBQ sauce and loaded onto hamburger buns. (Red Apple Farm, I’m talking about you)
After you pay for an apple picking bag, you head out to the orchard. Word to the wise about the bags. You always think, “this is so SMALL.” But when you’re done, you think “What the heck am I going to do with all of these APPLES? This bag was so SMALL! How is it’s full of fifty thousand apples all of a sudden?”
What are you going to do with all of those apples? Here’s one idea: applesauce.
This is my grandmother’s applesauce recipe, passed down (along with her apple strainer and special pink bowl) to my mother and me. I’m going to show you two ways to make applesauce. The first, the way I did it, requires an apple strainer. The second doesn’t need any fancy equipment.
My Grandmother’s Pink Applesauce:
(This applesauce is pink because I leave the skin on. If you want white applesauce, just peel them before boiling)
- 6-8 apples
1. Wash the apples (Peel them if you want white applesauce. Leave the peel on for pink applesauce)
2 Core and quarter the apples
3. Put them in a large pot and add water until it’s 1/4 of the way up the apples
4. Simmer on low heat until the apples are completely soft and mushy (time varies – around 30 minutes)
5. Remove from the pot and put through a strainer in batches
6. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste
If you don’t have a strainer:
Same directions as above except you mash the apples with a ricer or potato masher until it’s the right consistency.