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We were hit with a frost near Easter this spring, after a warm few weeks all of the fruit trees had started to bloom early. Ninety-five percent of the peach crop in our area was decimated. Things were not promising for fall’s apple harvest either.
So, you can imagine my surprise and delight to find tiny, but tasty apples at the market. I think they were as much a surprise to the grower as they were for me. I celebrated by buying a ton of them. After you have eaten a few, you set to work figuring out how to make the most of this sweet surprise. For me, that is Cinnamon-Vanilla Applesauce. It’s an easy, low-sugar recipe. Once you make this home made, you’ll never go back to a jar. I like my applesauce “rustic” style, so I don’t use a food mill, just a potato masher. Leave the lid off the pot for a while at the end of cooking to make your kitchen smell like fall.
12 gala apples, or enough to get 5 cups of peeled, cored slices
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out with the back of a knife
2 Ceylon Cinnamon sticks (or use regular cinnamon sticks)
3/4 cup 100% apple juice or no-sugar added cider
1 tbs. Lemon juice
Put all of this in a pot, especially all the vanilla seeds and the pods. Simmer on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. Remove vanilla pod and cinnamon sticks. Mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Tastes best cool the next day. Freezes well.
You can find more seasonal, straight-from-the-farm recipes at The Expatriate’s Kitchen, http://expatriateskitchen.blogspot.com