Monday, September 3, 2012

quick and easy applesauce

The cool mornings are speaking of summer slowly turning to autumn. This is definitely my favourite time of the year. No matter where you look, the nature will amaze you with its astonishing beauty. The changing temperatures bring the changing colours with them. Forests will go from green to shades of yellow and red. Bright flowers will give way for the earthly hues of autumn.

"Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower."
 - Albert Camus

While the mornings have been cool here in Finland, the days have so far still been pleasantly warm. It is a little confusing, actually, the need to pull on a jacket in the morning only having to take it off later on. It's as if, this year, we are given plenty of time to adapt to the change of the seasons and all the necessary preparations. For me, applesauce belongs to the category of "autumn preparations".

As soon as apples are in season, I start making applesauce. I love to top my bowl of oatmeal with a big spoonful of chunky applesauce - preferably one infused with cinnamon. Applesauce makes such a great topping for yogurt, oatmeal, and ice cream, and it's great on its own as a snack as well. I like mine slightly sweetened, but this recipe can easily be adjusted according to your preferences.

Quick and Easy Applesauce
makes about 1 cup, depending on the size of the apples

4 to 5 medium apples, peeled* and thinly sliced**
1/4 cup water
2 to 4 tbsp sugar or maple syrup (or to taste)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Combine the apples, water and sugar in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Let simmer until the apples are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring a few times to make sure the apples get evenly cooked. Towards the end of the cooking, add cinnamon or vanilla to taste, if desired.

* You can just as well leave the peels on the apples; in that case, I recommend using organic apples. I love to leave the peels on with red apples, as that will result in nice, pink apple sauce. Of course, leaving the peels on means chunkier, more textured apple sauce.

** If you like your apple sauce truly chunky, try cutting one of the apples a little thicker. Thinly slicing the apples means that the apple sauce won't be completely smooth but it isn't exactly chunky either.

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