Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Home Ec

I remember the first time I made applesauce. I think I was about 10. My mom and I peeled and cored some apples, tossed them in a pot with some water, sugar and flavorings, and applesauce happened.
"We can do this?" I asked, amazed.
"Well, where did you think applesauce comes from?" answered my mom.
Um, actually, up to that instant, I thought it came from cans or jars.
One of those breakthrough moments: You realize that prepared food is viscerally connected to the fresh item. And that factories have taken over the production. But you can take it back. Simple.
I had a ball seasoning my first homemade applesauce with the predictable flavors of cinnamon and cloves. So "bakery."
If you know me at all, you'll have already guessed I didn't season my applesauce this week the same way. First, fresh bay leaves. I'm religiously devoted to them, so in they went with the apples, water and agave syrup. Second, orange juice and zest. It can't be helped; I am enslaved to an orange tree at the moment, and I love it. OK. And, a pinch of salt.
The applesauce is subtle; not a knockout. It's just... nice. Would I do it differently? Yeah, I'd add in some chile pepper. Heh.
You're asking where the hell did I get apples for the applesauce this time of year. They were a gift from a local friend; Golden Delicious apples that she predicted would have no shelf life at all. Well, they kept really well out in the cold garage for more than a few months, and finally met their happy destiny.
I have two plans for the applesauce. Latkes (potatoes and onions, grated and fried and slathered with sour cream), and deconstructed apple pie (with baked puff pastry and cheddar cheese).
I am becoming less and less fearful of the ownership of fruit trees. Thunderous bounty, but something you can share.


Anonymous said...

Yay CC! Then you'll get an apple tree or two and be sneaking applesauce into all sorts of things, like cookies, yogurt, puddings, etc. Cook it longer and you've got apple butter. Put it on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven and you've got apple leather. Ah! I'm a home-ec brown-noser.

(Have you made some marmalade yet with those oranges? And oh, the things I would do with fresh bay...)

dancingmorganmouse said...

There was a bit of hoohah last week in the Sydney media because it was found that the apples being sold in the shops right now (the middle of Summer) were between 8-10 months old! Well DUH! I guess people just don't realise apples have a season and are kept in cold storage - roll on autum and apple sauce season!

Barbara said...

Oh I miss my bay tree back in Auckland. I'll plant one in apot I think.

Mimi said...

I have a bay tree in a pot. I grew it from a seedling that I bought mail order. At first I was too scared to use the leaves because the tree was so tiny. Then I got scared to use the leaves because..well.. they were fresh and I'm used to cooking with the dried ones. After years and years, I just started using them this recently. I'll never go back to dried leaves. After reading about your applesauce, I think they may need to find their way into some sweet dishes.

Anna Haight said...

If the bay tree will grow in a pot, this might have to be my next deck gardening adventure. I was the apple peeler for my mom while she made apple everything, but fresh applesauce and apple butter were always in abundance at our house. I can't remember the first time I had canned. I was spoiled.

Ilva said...

But Oh that photos is pure bliss! XXX

Beccy said...

Applesauce is a favourite with Dillon, now you've given me tips for spicing it up.

ChrisB said...

I still have a few fresh Bramley apples stored in my cellar. I would never have thought of adding bay leaves to apple sauce ~ I think I've mentioned before I do have a bay tree .

Heather said...

I know what you mean about fruit trees, but everyone is afraid of the furry quinces I bring to the party. :(

I love apple pie with cheddar cheese.

cookiecrumb said...

Fast (etc.): Well, I actually did find myself contemplating an apple tree for the backyard...! And maybe an avocado tree, too.
I have made peach and pear butter -- fabulous -- but I haven't gone as far as fruit leather. That would make a lot of sense; snacks!

Ms. Mouse: Apples do pretty damn well in storage. I was thinking of using the crawl space beneath my house, but Cranky is afraid of bug-death residue (he's right).

Barbara: Start one in a pot right now! They do fine. (So we're secret sisters in fresh bay love!)

Mimi: I know how stupidly scared we can be! But I'm impressed you grew your tree from a seedling. I'm just kicking myself because I lived in a house with a bay tree for years, and couldn't be bothered to use the leaves.

Anna: Go to Sloat and get a tree in a pot! They're pretty.
I just had a memory of making applesauce with my mom, without peeling the apples. The sauce came out pink (and we pulled the peels out at the end).

Ilva: OOH, thank you. It was a difficult shot. So much yellow. (I'm sending you hugs this week. Well, I always do, but special hugs now.)

Beccy: So many things you can do to applesauce. A vanilla bean. Grated ginger. A sprinkling of cocoa powder on top.

ChrisB: Sshhh! Someone will be very jealous to hear about your apples.
As for bay leaves, I'm putting them in everything!

Heather: They're furry? Eep. Yeah, I think quinces are one of the last things people know how to use.

cookiecrumb said...

El: I forgot to add, I haven't made marmalade yet, but I bought sugar and found a recipe. See, I actually had to buy sugar for this.

katiez said...

Don't forget a big spoon of applesauce with a scoop of Greek or vanilla yogurt...dessert, breakfast, whatever!
I have a bay tree the size of my mother's house... it makes me feel so reckless, tossing in handfulls of leaves!

Anonymous said...

Oooo, an avocado tree! (Wow, such things to contemplate!) Do let us know if you go down the marmalade path! (Surprisingly, sugar is in my foodshed (sugar beets) so I'm all of a sudden so...not jealous that you have to get something from a store.)

Zoomie said...

I used to make chunky applesauce when I lived in WNY - I added cider instead of the water, too - makes for really, really apple-y flavor! Yum! Great photo! Also yum!

cookiecrumb said...

Katie: Such luxury, a tree to use with abandon. And I love your idea of the yogurt with applesauce. I have a yogurt post coming up. Guess what it's flavored with.

Fast: I am totally doing the marmalade, and a batch of candied orange rind. I'm going to experiment with freezing orange zest; it's so good.

Zoomie: It so happens I used a recipe this time that called for apple cider instead of water, and I had some in the fridge. Good!

Sam said...

I am jealous of my own mother? Damn it.

I am sorry to say I like my applesauce plain. Sugar water apple, nothing more nothing less. I was brought up that way, and unlike many other things I was brought up with, applesauce so something i don't feel like experimenting with.

Bramleys *need* sugar btw.

cookiecrumb said...

Sam: I'm sorry you had to read that.

Lore said...

Wow the idea of combining apples with cheese..just yummy!