Friday, February 1, 2013

Guest post: Homemade applesauce

I am please to round out my week of apple goodness with a lovely guest post from my good friend Sarah Waybright, friend and fellow dietitian and founder of WhyFoodWorks. We met while working on the Kids Eat Right campaign. Sarah did her Master of Science (MS) in Human Nutrition at Drexel University, and her dietetic internship through Utah State University‚Äôs distance program to become a Registered Dietitian (RD).  She grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania, does pottery as a hobby, and loves to do yoga and kickboxing to stay active. 


After working all last season for a farmer friend at the Columbia Heights market in DC, I had MORE than my fair share of access to apples.  One afternoon, when I wanted to make a cake and substitute applesauce for the oil (a great trick; it makes your cake moist while reducing fat and adding fiber!), I found myself with apples, apples, everywhere and not a drop of sauce.  So I whipped up a quick batch!

Check it out, these are from Rice orchards - I grew up with the Rices in Gettysburg, so I know for a fact that these apples are both local and delicious :)
As I outlined in my original blog post, the benefits of making your own are higher fiber content, using up older or spotty apples, no added sugar, and above all else, improved taste.  Vastly improved.  And it's really, really not hard.  If you can boil water you can make applesauce.  But in my original recipe, I had to use a blender since I only chopped the unpeeled apples into cubes...which means another kitchen gadget to clean.  No me gusta.  And you definitely want to leave the peels on - that's what ups the fiber content, and a lot of vitamins and minerals are more closely concentrated near the skins of fruit.

Enter a simple mandolin.  I got mine for $10, but you can go as fancy as you like here, and even pay over $100.  If you want.  But I'm here to tell you that the one I have works just fine for my purposes; it comes with a few julienne attachments, which make the pieces of skin so small you won't have to worry about pureeing the sauce after it's cooked.  A box grater would work here, too.

That was a whole apple down in less than a minute, if you were paying attention.  And you NEED to pay attention when you use a grater or mandolin, because your fingers will pay the price if you don't.

It's your turn!  Try it and let us know what your favorite flavor combo is.  Besides substituting for oil in baked goods, applesauce is also delicious for breakfast mixed with some plain greek yogurt, heated over vanilla ice cream as a dessert, or even frozen as a summer popsicle.

2c water
6-7 apples, preferably Nittany, York, or Braeburn (or any crisp, flavorful variety)
Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, nutmeg 

Bring the water to a boil in a large pan, and use a mandolin with a julienne attachment (or a box grater) to grate the apples.  Add to boiling water, reduce to simmer.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, then mash with a potato masher or fork, and season with a dash of any or all of the spices listed to taste.
Thanks for posting, Sarah! 

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