Apple Madness: Applesauce and Apple Butter

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Did you know that there are 7,500 apple varieties?  2,500 of these varieties are grown in the U.S.  According to SelectHealth.org, the most popular apple is the Red Delicious. It was introduced in the 1880s in Iowa and is well-known for being bright red, crunchy, and mildly sweet. However, the Gala may soon take its place in the number one spot, moving the Red Delicious to second and Granny Smith will take third place. Apples are also filled with nutrition. It is true, an apple a day, keeps the doctor away. RD.com states that the apple is one of the healthiest fruits.

I grew up in Washington state and I only experienced Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith apples.  Red Delicious tasted the best to me with the crunch and the sweetness. As an adult, wow, have I been surprised with all the varieties of apples that are available year-round.

When the kids were young, we decided to have an apple party. We went to the store and bought one of every kind of apple. Then we went home and made sure we didn’t get the stickers on the apples mixed up and had a delightful afternoon. We tried Pink Lady, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Jonathon, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith.  We all decided that there were so many delicious apples, it was hard to pick just one.

I took a pie baking class years ago and it was suggested to mix several varieties in the pie. I do this same philosophy when making applesauce. In my applesauce, I like to use the juicy apples to create a smooth applesauce. I also like to add a Granny Smith for a bit of punch. Enjoy this recipe… Our family likes it with ice cream, whipped cream, to use in my applesauce cookie recipe, and as a hot applesauce for breakfast. 

Applesauce is wonderful. Try the apple challenge with your family and try to decide on your favorite variety. Along with applesauce, apple butter tastes so delicious on toast or English muffins. I have also included an applesauce oatmeal cookie recipe that is filled with whole grain goodness. 

Chunky Homemade Applesauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine chopped (unpeeled) apples (3 to 4 small to medium apples) with about ¼ – ½ cup of water. There should be just enough water in the pan to cover the bottom of the pan.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for approximately 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and make sure there is always a thin layer of water at the bottom of your pan.
  4. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste).
  5. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so.
  6. Taste for sweetness. If desired, add a bit of honey or a tablespoon of coconut sugar.
  7. For a spicier applesauce, add a dash of nutmeg and ginger.
  8. When the apples are soft, mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.

This recipe is easy and can make any size of pot of applesauce. For a larger batch of applesauce, add additional water. I like to make smaller batches so it can be eaten hot and fresh.

When applesauce is cooled, place in jars and keep in refrigerator. Use within 1-2 weeks.

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Delicious Homemade Apple Butter

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Wash, core and chop the apples.  Place in the bowl of a slow cooker.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and place on low and cook on low for 6 hours.
  3. At this point, you can use an immersion blender to puree the apples and you have a delicious applesauce. If you want apple butter, you will need to continue to cook the apples.
  4. Uncover the pot slightly and continue to cook on low for another 6-8 hours or until the applesauce is reduced by half.
  5. Once the apple butter is nice and thick, transfer to glass jars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can also freeze to extend the shelf life.
  6. This apple butter is delicious on toast, pancakes, waffles, homemade bread, or just by the spoonful.
Recipe adapted from Detoxinista

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If I am going to eat cookies, I want them to be healthy and healthy for my kids and grandkids. Here is a delicious recipe that can use that delicious homemade applesauce

Applesauce Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup applesauce
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar or ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted – if using honey use only 1/8 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used spelt flour and substituted 2 tablespoons per cup of spelt flour with barley flour for added nutrition)
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (I used rolled 9 grain)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (I used Redmond Real Salt)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 small red apple diced into small pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Move rack to middle position.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the applesauce, coconut sugar or honey, coconut oil, and vanilla until combined.
  3. Add the flour, oats, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and apple until combined.
  4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes until set. Bottoms should be lightly browned.
  6. Remove from baking sheet to cool on a cooling rack.
Recipe adapted from I Heart Vegetables.

Enjoy the apple season with these delicious, easy, and healthy recipes.