As long as I can remember, my mother made applesauce for us, not only as our early food as babies but also for Thanksgiving and Christmas. These holidays, for my newly immigrated parents, were foreign. The Dutch don’t eat turkey (or corn for that matter) according to my mother. She would state, in her guttural native tongue, “dat is kooien voor!” No, she wasn’t swearing but she did put her foot down about eating what she felt was cow food. Applesauce, in her mind, made the turkey more palatable.
Thanks Mom. I will remember your many stories long into my days.
From you, I learned to make applesauce and so many more traditional foods that nourished us so profoundly. Applesauce for me, is you. It is dad and my brothers and sister heading out to the apple orchard, faces flushed, anticipating the bushels we would fill together. Spreading out amongst the trees, like dandelion seeds dispersed in the breeze, we would run and find the biggest, reddest apples, climbing as high as needed to get them. It was always a contest to see who climbed the highest and found the biggest, reddest apple. When we had filled two bushel baskets and eaten our fill, we would pile back into the car and head home.
The peeling and cooking of the delicious fruit would begin immediately. Mom never added sugar, only lemon juice. She taught me that to make a good sauce you needed to put the peeled apples in a bath of water and lemon juice to keep the flesh white. That was her goal – pristine white applesauce. Jar after jar would be produced from our collective efforts.
In our house applesauce was the “sweet” treat that went on toast, oatmeal, yogurt or was served as dessert. It was first food for my siblings and I as babies and I made it for my babies too. I could rave on about how nutritious applesauce is thanks to the fibre and nutrients nature blessed it with but I like to think of it as first food, family food, fast food. Clean, nourishing, loving food.
This Thanksgiving I have made applesauce. Lots of it because now my grand daughter, Grayson, adores it. I’ve been making it for her since she was able to eat solid food. My greatest joy is that her mother, my daughter Rachel, makes it now too. What a gift it is to teach our children how to cook. It is the gift that will keep on giving. Start with this recipe, there’s nothing simpler.
Here is my Eat Clean™ applesauce recipe. Put it on my Paleo Bread and you’ve got a complete breakfast or snack. Even better, you’ve got love in every bite.
Wishing you and yours, a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Tosca Reno (with a sticky applesauce face but there was no emoji for that)
PS. Tell me about your family favourite recipes. What recipe brings back memories for you? I would be grateful for your comments. Please post in Comments below.
Yield: 6-8 cups
3 Macintosh apples, peeled, sliced and cored
3 Cortland apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 Spy apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 1/2 cups water
1 lemon, juiced
Place all ingredients into a large saucepan.
Bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce to simmer.
Let cook until fruit is soft, about 20 – 30 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir to break up chunks and leave chunky if desired. Otherwise transfer to a food mill in batches and process. A food mill is a manual way of puréeing the apples into a more uniform sauce. I still have my mother’s food mill and love the history of that much used implement.
Transfer hot applesauce into clean, sterile Mason jars and seal immediately. Keeps in refrigerator for several weeks.