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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homemade Organic Apple Sauce With Peel

I wanted this apple sauce to be homemade, and delicious, and I wanted to leave the peel on. I admit that I was new to making apple sauce, and so I looked up some recipes.

Most people suggest peeling the apples, and adding sugar and spices, but there were a couple out there who mentioned success with leaving the peel on.

The apples I wanted to use up were some delicious, but older, organic Gala apples.  I find these are naturally pretty sweet, plus they have a beautifully-coloured peel.

So, the peel was staying on.

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I buy these regularly enough from the grocery store, but as Ontario has been harvesting more apples locally this Autumn, we've been picking up farmer's market Gala apples as well.

So, some of these older, store-bought Galas were getting pretty old.  They were still in good shape, but the peel had started to lose its crispness a little bit.

At any rate, I figured they'd be perfect for sauce.

So, I cored and quartered them using just a trusty paring knife.  I still am not convinced a 'corer' would add too much efficiency... but I'd be willing to give it a try someday.
That day was not today.

Into the pot the chopped apples went, peel and all, with a small amount of water.  That's it.  Nothing else.

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I put the lid on and essentially steamed (boiled, but there was only a couple of centimetres of water on the bottom) the apples for a good 15 to 20 minutes.  Until softened, which meant, until I couldn't stir them around with my wooden spoon anymore without them falling apart.

So, after that, I dumped the whole pot into a colander which was carefully on top of a tupperware container, so that I could save the liquid for later (going to make some apple spice bread soon).  The strained apples then went in my Cusinart food processor.  This took a fair bit of time, and required successive pulse-stir-pulse-stir actions.  Eventually I got it to a very nice, silky smooth consistency.  Before I poured it out of the blender, I threw in a very simple mix of ground star anise and the faintest pinch of cinnamon.  This was done very meticulously, because I wanted a very smooth texture and star anise can be a little hard.  So, I ground them in my mortar and pestle, and then used a very fine sieve to tap the resultant powder in.  This required three batches of grinding before all of it could fit through the sieve.  After that was all mixed nicely, I put it back in my pot (which I had rinsed of any large apple bits still remaining).

The result was a very smooth apple sauce. It didn't have any added sugar at all, but was still surprisingly sweet.  The star anise and cinnamon were there, but really well incorporated into the overwhelmingly apple flavour.

It was really, really, good.

To see what we put this on, check out my post on Roasted Pork Loin.


  1. Well... there's Anise SEED which is the tiny seed of a flowering plant, with licorice-esque flavours. But then there is STAR Anise (which is what I used here) which is the fruiting body of an Asian evergreen tree. They both have licorice-like flavour, but I find the star anise to be a little 'earthier' or 'muskier' and richer. I like it.

    It is a great addition to many desserts, coffees, baking, etc. It is also an excellent COMPLEMENT to cinnamon.

  2. BTW - Here's a pic of some star anise:
    You might have to copy and paste this URL into your browser's address bar...