Like Pie Applesauce
Did you know October is National Apple Month? We have a little orchard of 10 espaliered organic apple trees with a variety chosen by my wish-I-was-a-farmer husband. He likes tart apples so most of the trees he’s planted are “pie apples” and too tart to eat. Only a few are tart/sweet and are good for eating. As you can imagine, no matter how many pies I make for the holidays with all those pie apples, we end up with way more apples than a family of four can possibly eat which is why my husband makes them into THE BEST applesauce you have ever tasted (see below for the recipe). It is like not-too-sweet apple pie without the crust. We eat this as a healthy dessert throughout the year.
And in case you didn’t know, apples are some of the healthiest food on the planet! Most people probably know that apples are abundant in fiber and vitamin C, helping to ward off the common cold this time of year. But there have been many recent studies that show apples are also good for protection against stroke, heart disease and cancer. One Dutch study found that eating fruit with white color flesh may protect against stroke. Another by Bahram Arjmandi, Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at Florida State University, found that “Apples have a profound effect on total cholesterol, and also on the “good” and “bad” types of cholesterol. They caused a major reduction in inflammatory proteins that are implicated in a number of serious diseases.” Then there are the studies about cancer prevention: A 2001 Mayo Clinic study indicated that quercetin, a flavonoid abundant in apples, helps prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells. A Cornell University study indicated phytochemicals in the skin of an apple inhibited the reproduction of colon cancer cells by 43 percent. The National Cancer Institute has reported that foods containing flavonoids like those found in apples may reduce the risk of lung cancer by as much as 50 percent.
In addition to all that good nutrition, they taste great! My current favorite is the Pink Lady: tart and sweet at the same time and very crunchy. When picking apples at the store, it is well worth the extra money for organic as apples are consistently at the top of the Dirty Dozen list for pesticide use. If you must buy non-organic, wash them thoroughly and avoid the top part by the stem in particular where the pesticides tend to accumulate.
Here is my husband’s recipe for THE BEST homemade applesauce. Homemade is much tastier than store bought and really, really easy. The hardest part is making sure you’re using the right kind of apples.
Like Pie Applesauce
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
The sugar amounts are just guidelines, depending your taste, and on the sweetness of your apples, use less or more. If you use less sugar, you’ll likely want to use less lemon juice. The lemon juice brightens the flavor of the apples and balances the sweetness.
- 3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and quartered apples. (Make sure you use tart and crisp apples like Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady, or Gravenstein.)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup of water
Put all ingredients into a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Stir occasionally, make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Don’t overcook. We like to leave it chunky but you could mash it if you like it that way.
Ready to serve, either hot or refrigerated. Freezes easily, lasts up to one year in a freezer.
To your health,