Thursday, September 29, 2011

Apples: Never lost in the sauce!

I've had it with summer: Bring on the fall -- and its abundance of apples. Although I eat apples year-round -- even summer's mealy ones make it into my luncheon salads -- I crave the crisp, juicy apples that are now taking over the markets.

I only buy organic apples, which to me makes sense since apples always top the list of the dirtiest fruits and vegetables. The problem with organic apples is that they don't have the variety of conventional ones, but that's a small price to pay.

Apples are a great source of fiber, in addition to some vitamin C and the flavonoid quercetin, which has antioxidant properties.

At market, look for apples with no bruises, dents, scapes or soft spots. Once home, pop them in the refrigerator, where fresh apples will keep up to three months. Of course, for long storage periods, check them daily and discard any apples that are beginning to rot. You know what they say about one rotten apple.

At room temperature, apples should be OK for about a week. Again, check them daily. When my kids were small, I always kept a big basket on the counter, ready for eating. And it worked! Today, all three of my kids still love apples.

And they also love my applesauce.

I cut at least 10 McIntosh apples into quarters, and throw them into a pot, compelte with stems, skins and seeds. Place the pot on simmer, and cook until the apples are mushy and soft.

I use Macs because of the high-water content in the apples. No water needed for applesauce.

Once they are soft, I place them in a hand-cranked Foley food mill, which immediately turns the apples into sauce -- minus the skins, stems and seeds. But by doing it this way, you capture the fiber from the skins, which pumps up the nutritional value of the applesauce. Add some cinnamon and call it sauce!

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