October 29th, 2016

When life hands you apples, make applesauce

Ever since I encountered the Golden Russet apple about a week ago, I’ve been on a rare heirloom apple kick.

The Russett made me wonder what other gems I’d not explored, ambrosial taste thrills as-yet unimagined in the apple realm. Living in New England I have a golden opportunity to find out, and I’ve gone to a total of three apple orchards specializing in such rarities.

As a result, I’ve purchased a lot of apples, maybe 70 in all, that have come to fill my rather small refrigerator. It’s hard to sort out what I’ve got there, since I mostly bought them in batches of 2s and 3s per variety, for a total of over 20 different varieties.

I’ve tasted every single one, and the Golden Russett is still one of the winners. We also have favorites “Sweet Sixteen,” “Crimson Gold, “Esopus Spitzbergen,” and “Regent,” among others.

I’ve also discovered that looks aren’t everything. For example, one of the most unusual and attention-getting apples I found was the black orchid, sporting a deep wine tone that promised a similar richness of taste. In the following photo I’ve placed a regular apple at the top for comparison; the black orchid is on the bottom (the photo doesn’t do its color justice, though):


Well, that black orchid was a bitter disappointment. It had a weak, insipid taste. Which reminds me of the fact that roses that are bred for looks are often the least fragrant.

Last night I decided to deal with the apple overflow by taking the least crisp and tasty apples from the bunch, peeling and cutting them, and making applesauce. This took a long time, and I have a lot of applesauce.

It’s pretty darn good.

16 Responses to “When life hands you apples, make applesauce”

  1. japan Says:

    I have a lot of applesauce.

    Looks you got another source of wealth. Put it on line for on-line shoppers, take orders supply customer by “pretty darn good”, applesauce” to help this blog going “pretty darn good”

  2. Ann Says:

    Does anyone still grow the winter banana apple in New England? I had some many, many years ago when I lived in Massachusetts. I remember its having just the right crispness and sweetness.

  3. Kae Arby Says:

    I’m typically partial to tart apples myself (McInstosh and Granny Smith) but I’ve also taken a liking to Fuji apples.


  4. charles Says:

    “pretty darn good”

    Yep, homemade applesauce made from a VARIETY of apples is always tasty!

    And, sometimes, add some summer rhubarb or cranberries to make it even better (although, with the cranberries it MUST be put through a food mill to get rid of the bitter cranberry skins)

  5. The Other Chuck Says:

    It’s my experience that the flavor of apples depends on how much winter cold they get. Where I live in the Sierra’s we grow Jonagold which is by far the best universal choice both for crisp eating and pies. However, during warm, open winters which we’ve had during the California drought the last few years, they tend to be less crisp and lacking in flavor. This year we had a late summer hot spell and then a big apple drop. The crop that was left lacked the usual flavor and crispness. For some reason, the Asian Pears were fantastic though. Best crop I’ve ever had, with some still packed in paper in the porch fridge.

  6. parker Says:

    The nearby orchid will close sales tomorrow so we wil buy a bushel, a couple gallons of cider, and enjoy apples fritters at a picnic table looking out over rolling hills of the orchard. They grow over 50 varieties, but Golden Russet is not one of them.


    We will make more sauce on Monday. We add craisins to our sauce, along with a bit of ginger. And a few jars get red pepper flakes that we buy in bulk because we ferment a lot of kimchi.

  7. Michael F Adams Says:

    The wife and daughter take apple slices in their lunches, but do not always eat all of them, so I put the leftover slices in the freezer, When I have enough, I thaw them, and the peels fairly slide off, leaving the delicious apple for pie.

    Apple sauce can also be canned in your pressure cooker, which very likely came with instructions for canning, if that’s something your very urban middle class mother never did. (I have heard your voice, assume it is much like hers was, so I can hear her, in my mind’s ear, heaping genteel scorn on such an idea.)

    Nevertheless, if there’s too much apple sauce in your fridge, or if you run out of taste for it, before you run out of sauce, canning would be your solution.

  8. Artfldgrs Says:

    We found we love jonathans.
    (though i still love crab apples off the hill upstate by the cornfield… never again… )

  9. sdferr Says:

    So when life hands you applesauce . . . make latkes.

  10. Csimon621 Says:

    Alternative apple use: went to friend’s for last minute dinner get together and she made simple but delicious dessert: Peeled and sliced apples cooked with little brown sugar and butter and served warm over vanilla ice cream. So simple but SO DELICIOUS!

  11. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    Hot applesauce, with a scoop of New York Vanilla!

  12. Yankee Says:

    I usually get Fuji, Gala, and Jazz apples at the supermarket, having good experiences with them. The old-fashioned chunky type of applesauce is best, but I have a harder time finding that.

  13. Gringo Says:

    I grew up in rural NE with a lot of apple orchards nearby. Back then you could pick a half bushel or bushel for a dollar or two. Whatever. Cheapo. We always had a bushel or half bushel in the unheated hallway in the winter.

    Pressure cookers are good for making apple sauce. I add some cinnamon to the chopped up apples and cook for 2 minutes under pressure.

    My favorite eating apples were Macs and Ida Reds.
    I am also partial to Ida Red, the song.

  14. Susanamantha Says:

    We like Honecrisps ($$) for eating out of hand, but use only Jonathans for baking pies and crisps. I have used many apple crisp recipes and the best one in my opinion is Ina Garten’s (Barefoot Contessa) Apple Crisp recipe, available on line. It uses lemon and orange juice and zests. Tart and sweet, with a nice crunchy topping. We made two of them yesterday.

  15. snopercod Says:

    My Arkansas Black apple wine is coming along nicely, thanks. I started with a 5 gal. bucket of apples, and am now down to three gallon jugs in secondary fermentation. I will drink no wine before its time.

  16. Surellin Says:

    Sheepsnose, Neo. They’re sort of misshappen, but good. And definitely heirloom – not sure I would have ever had one had my then-girlfriend not had an in with the wizards at the agriculture college.

    Also, I’d like to share this from a friend of mine last week, of which which your title reminded me – “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade – assuming life also gives you sugar and water”. Cynical, no?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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