Homemade Applesauce

My mother in law makes wonderful applesauce. It’s spicy like cider, and as sweet as pie filling. Each autumn, she collects the fruit that falls from the apple trees in her backyard (it takes two trees to produce fruit, how poetic is that?), and makes jars of applesauce for me. I love the smell of cinnamon wafting through the air as I heat her applesauce on our stove. It’s so yummy I eat bowlful after bowlful, leaving not much to store for the winter. Only this year, rather than applesauce, she gave me a box of apples. What am I supposed to do with a box of apples? I’m not a cook. I can cook, but it requires advance planning: finding a recipe, shopping for the ingredients, and hiring a baby sitter to watch the kids so I don’t splatter grease on them.

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I called my mother in law for her applesauce recipe and she laughed. I don’t think she’s ever used a recipe. Her mother in law taught her how to make applesauce. “Boil the apples in water,” she said. “And then squeeze them through your ricer. Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.” To taste? Whose taste? Mine?

But I went for it. I boiled the apples on the stove for two hours.

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When they softened (i.e. exploded), I dumped them into a colander. The water ran out, thick and creamy, and I realized I was supposed to keep it. Oh well.

We added nutmeg and cinnamon to taste, but skipped the sugar. Then I put some vanilla extract in there to make it mine.

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As the smell of cinnamon wafted through our kitchen, suddenly I felt as if my mother in law was with us. And it wasn’t just her, but the people we had shared meals with at her table. Making applesauce was like preserving a part of our family’s history: the farm where two apple trees grew, and the people who planted them. It made me realize the point of a meal wasn’t the speed at which food gets to your table, but the community you find there. And tonight we had past generations with us.

The applesauce may not be perfect, but at least its ours.

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DSC00253

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01. October 2009 by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson
Tags: , , , | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. Hi,
    I’m SO behind on blogs! The applesauce looks and sounds so easy and fun and delicious and now I want to make sure I get the boys (including husband) and I to an orchard before it’s too late! Love your addition of vanilla. Also love that you left out the sugar. I only buy unsweetened as it sure doesnt’ need it, huh!
    Love the picture of your son with his tongue sticking out as he scoops away.
    Also, too funny about kissing Rocco. I felt just a little out of place not drinking wine at the winery, but the evening was great fun and I still can’t believe I met Rocco either! (I enjoy meeting famous people.)
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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