'Tis the season here in New York for dozens of apple varieties to appear in farm markets and on trees in every neighborhood. Some are best for baking, others are best eaten in hand and some of the more gnarly-looking make delicious sauce for the cold winter days ahead.
Simply peel the worst looking fruits, remove the seeds and core and simmer in a saucepan with a cinnamon stick until soft. Let the sauce cool a little, then taste it. I like to add a little vanilla powder and butter while it's still warm. A dollop of whipped cream and some toasted walnuts make it a yummy dessert to rival any sundae.
Applesauce keeps well in a glass jar in the fridge for several weeks but the extra step of submerging in boiling water to seal the lids is worthwhile if you want to keep applesauce in your pantry for several months. Canning is a lost art but a very simple process to bring back into your kitchen to preserve the best of the harvest season.
Baked apples are good, make the house smell great and take almost no time to make:
1. Cut 2 apples in half and remove the core and seeds. Place the apples in a buttered ceramic baking dish, skin side down.
2. Top each half with 1 tsp butter and sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg to taste. A little coconut palm sugar is a good idea too, to sweeten the deal.
3. Pour a little water into the baking dish. Bake apples for 40 to 45 minutes or until the apples are tender.
But if you really want to bring the house down, make these:
Ok, not really, but I thought it might be funny to run with the theme...
2 tablespoons ghee or pastured lard
2 medium thinly sliced onions
2 medium peeled and thinly sliced apples
1 medium head green or red cabbage, chopped
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1. Melt the ghee in a large iron skillet over high heat. Sauté the sliced onion until translucent and slightly browned. Stir in apples and sauté a few minutes until fragrant.
2. Reduce heat to medium, toss in chopped cabbage, stir well and cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Pour cider into the cabbage and apples. Add the bay leaf and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or so, when the liquid is mostly evaporated.
4. Sprinkle the dish with sea salt and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Cook another minute and serve with roasted sausages or grilled chicken.
A few bonus ideas: add chunks of apple to a vegetable curry or a spicy bean soup to lend a subtle sweetness.