It if Fall if you haven’t noticed. And that means it is cooking with apple time. Coming from Upstate New York it was time for leaf changing, apple picking and cooking with fresh apples right off the trees.
One of my favorite things to make at this time of year is apple sauce. Also I love to cook in my crock pot. So I discovered a way to do both (I doubt I am the first to make this discovery).
Of course first a brief history of apple sauce.
Food historians tell us sauces made with applesauce and related recipes [stewed apples, apple pudding] were made by medieval European cooks. The applesauce recipe in Elizabeth Raffald’s Experienced English Housekeeper (London:1769) is titled “To make Sauce for a Goose.” The Oxford English Dictionary traces the first use of the word applesauce in print to Eliza Smith’s Complete Housewife, 9th edition, [London:1739]. Many 18th century British and American cookbooks contain recipes for applesauce, confirming its popularity. (1)
(1) source http://www.foodtimeline.org
Of course the most important ingredient for applesauce is apples. Today there are many kinds of apples. Since I don’t add sugar to my recipe I choose apples with a mixture of sweetness and tartness to help control the flavor. And the apples I choose can change from batch to batch and year to year.
For this batch I choose Gala & McIntosh apples. The Gala are mildly sweet and crisp and the McIntosh are mildly tart and juicy. I prefer apples that were harvested this year.
Many producers put their apples from the previous year in cold storage. So when I go to purchase them I ask the Produce Manager if the apples are from this year. If this year’s harvest is not good I will use cold storage apples.
Once I have chosen the apples I go in search of Apple Cider. I don’t use water to cook my apples. I make sure that it is 100% juice with no added sugar. This way the sugar that is in my apple sauce is natural sugar not refined.
You can use water to cook them down it will change the flavor and you may need to adjust the amount of the sweet or tart apples you use.
The only other ingredients I add are cinnamon and pumpkin spice. The pumpkin spice I use is a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
When I make this recipe I pretty much eyeball it. But to make about 8 cups. I used 6 of each of the kinds of apples and 1/4 of the 1/2 gallon of apple cider. You may need to adjust as it cooks down by either adding more cider or more apples. The spices I use about a teaspoon of each. Again you might have to adjust to taste.
Since this is a chunky recipe I cut the apples into different sized. Some I leave in full size 1/8th of the apple and some I cut into little pieces. I bring it to temperature above 165 degrees.
In the crock pot for me it takes about 2 hours for it to get to the right consistency.
Next time I will use my home made apple sauce to make applesauce bread/cake.