Apples are such a mainstay of American cooking, that I have written about several ways to prepare them, but I have not talked about the simplest thing to do with a surplus of apples–make homemade applesauce. My grandmother (Vera Stout Anderson) cooked apples frequently. So it is only fitting that I follow the #52 Ancestors theme of the week, and serve the applesauce in Grandma’s pressed glass bowl.
Grandma had an old apple tree on the back of her Killbuck Ohio property and the apples were tiny but tasty, so although I don’t recall seeing her pick them, I suspect that some of those delicious stewed apples she made came from that tree. (I tinkered with that recipe, too, adding molasses instead of sugar.)
I found a way to give my applesauce a little twist in flavor that makes it taste just like apple pie. Yum! Warning: This is a recipe where you have to trust your taste buds. Every variety of apple has a different amount of sugar, and even within varieties the sugar level will vary from month to month, so there is no way to get it properly seasoned except to taste, add, taste again. Only four ingredients here, with one more optional.
Apple Pie Applesauce
To make one quart plus a bit:
Wash, core, and cut in quarters or eighths about ten to twelve apples. (No need to peel).
Put them in a large saucepan and add water up to about half the height of the apples. If you cover them with water, you’ll just have to boil it away later, losing valuable nutrients.
Heat to a simmer, and simmer until you can easily puncture through the skin with a fork.
Let cool slightly and put in blender, or better yet, use a blender wand to mash them fine. (Poor Grandma, she had to use a potato masher.)
Taste for sweetness and add a little sugar if you think it needs it. Go slowly. You won’t need much sugar, if you want to keep the apple taste. I added NO sugar to the batch I made with Liberty apples.
Sprinkle some nutmeg over. Taste. Again, this amount needs to be increased very slowly, with lots of tasting to be sure you don’t overdo it.
Finally, the secret ingredient that makes it taste like apple pie–add 1/2 teaspoon or so of vanilla extract.
Should fill a quart jar with maybe some left over. Chill.
If you want it to taste even more like apple pie, heat the applesauce and add a pat of butter and serve it warm. (I’m making me hungry).
Grandma’s Glass Bowl
This is definitely not the fanciest antique that I have in my collection, but I love it because I remember it always being used on my Grandma Vera’s table. It no doubt belonged to her mother, and so I speculate it dates from the late 1800’s. I tried doing a Google Image Search to find out something about this bowl, and while that has worked for other of the artifacts I inherited, I failed to find anything.
I would welcome any information anyone might have on this type of bowl. There is no hallmark on the bottom.