This past weekend, my kids and I decided to go in the back yard and harvest the late blooming apples from our apple tree. I’m not an apple expert, but based on the times that this tree’s fruit ripens (usually late November and early December) and the coloring and flavor of the apples, I think it’s a Honeycrisp tree (hey, it came with the house, and there wasn’t a tag on it when we ultimately got it :) ). What I can say is that these late harvest apples are “fantastic” and very sweet.
This year, we were able to pull off the equivalent of a full grocery bag full of pristine, clean apples, with about 2/3rds of a bag worth of apples that got a bit of insect or bird carnage on them. Hey, it happens :). This is the single biggest harvest we’ve had from this relatively young apple tree, and as we go into the next several years, we have hopes that it may yield even more.
While apples can last quite awhile, we were seriously wondering… what on earth are we going to do with all of these?! We decided to go through and pick the biggest ones (about 30 or them) and set them aside for daily eating. The rest, which varied in size but had the same flavor and development) we made into what we call “Larsen Homestyle Applesauce”. This is how we make a typical batch:
LARSEN’S HOMESTYLE HONEYCRISP APPLESAUCE
8-10 Honeycrisp apples
1 cup water
Juice from ½ of a Meyer Lemon
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Take the apples and put them into a food processor (or you can use a mashed potato press to get the same result). The goal is to get a fine chop and press of all of the apple pieces. For best flavor and smell, do not remove the skin (personal preference; I like the flavor of the pectin in the skin :) ).
Mix the juice from the lemon with the apple mixture (this helps to slow the oxidization of the apples and keeps a lighter color. It also adds a hint of sweeter citrus to the overall taste (Meyer lemons being considerable sweeter than most other lemon varieties).
Put the apple and lemon mix in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water, and place on medium heat for 25 minutes. The goal is to reduce the water and apple juice. When the applesauce mixture is the consistency of lumpy oatmeal, mix in the other ½ cup of water, the ½ cup of brown sugar, and the teaspoon of cinnamon. Reduce for another 20 minutes until the texture is just right.
The end product is a fairly chunky applesauce (not too soft but not too crisp) and it is a little reminiscent of Apple Pie filling, but not quite as sweet. This is great to eat by itself, but also tastes great when served with ice cream. We’ve now made three batches of the applesauce and devoured just about all of it (LOL!). Next year, if we get a similar yield or better, I’m going to invest in some canning supplies and actually store some up for later (or perhaps give some of it away :) ).