Every fall I have a ritual of making homemade applesauce. I like to eat it myself, and also give it as a gift and bring it to fall harvest and Thanksgiving celebrations. This year, it will also make a nourishing fall food for my baby, who has been eating solid foods for five months and is enjoying trying the fresh produce of each season.
The way I make applesauce is to start with about eight medium to large size organic apples. I’ve tried all sorts of apples, and I often like to mix different kinds of apples together. I peel them and chop them in to small pieces. In a medium sized saucepan, I combine them with about a cup to a cup and a half of water. Then I add about a half a cup of sweetener. Usually I use unprocessed sugar in the raw. I have also tried coconut sugar and brown sugar and both were very tasty. In the version of applesauce I made this morning, I used a few chunks of jaggery, unrefined sugar made from sugarcane juice. With jaggery, it’s slightly less sweet and the taste of the apples is more pronounced. I then add spices. I always use a generous amount of cinnamon and ginger, at least a teaspoon, usually two or more. I also sometimes add in nutmeg and allspice. I mix it all up and cook everything over medium heat for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally
When the apples are soft, I usually take out some extra liquid with a mug, pressing the apples with a strainer and collecting some of the liquid off the top in the mug. Then I let it the apples cool for a while. Then I mash it all with a potato masher. I find it’s calming and meditative to chant some sort of mantra while mashing. Today the baby was helping me, so we just chanted “mash, mash, mash,” which was actually strangely satisfying. As I mash, I add in some of the liquid I removed if it seems like it needs it. I like to leave some whole apple pieces so it’s a little chunky. Whatever liquid is left over, I drink. The applesauce comes out tasting sweet and slightly spicy, kind of like the inside of an apple pie. I eat the applesauce on its own, mixed with vegan yogurt, or as a topping for vanilla vegan ice cream.
The whole process of making applesauce takes less than an hour and is a grounding ritual that connects me to the fall season.