Monday, October 31, 2011

Lord, there goes Johnny Appleseed.

Recently, we found ourselves with a crap-ton of apples. (I believe that is a metric measurement.) Some were from the farmer’s market and some were from the grocery store, but the common denominator was that Red and I were tired of eating them. The Granny Smiths, in particular (from the hippie grocery), were notably less than juicy and delicious, which made me sad because I love them so. But they were still perfectly good. What to do with them?

I made Applesauce à la Burnout, basically. It’s a variation on the way my mom makes individual servings of baked apples, which is via the magic of the microwave. Probably I can’t call it applesauce as nothing gets pureed, but the apples do cook down and get soft, so maybe it’s chunky applesauce. Whatever. Here’s what I did:

Take your huge bowl of apples (10 or so).

Peel, core, and slice those babies. We actually have a fancy apple peeler that sits on the counter and you impale your apple on its spiky center piece, then turn the crank and it shaves the skin off, but it’s kind of only reliable for perfectly spherical apples. Organic, local apples are frequently lumpy as hell, so I used a hand-held peeler and it worked out great. I did use our apple corer and mandoline for the coring and slicing, respectively. When I was done, I had a mountain of apple slices:

Put them in your biggest skillet. Ours is 10 inches in diameter and is fairly groaning under the weight of all those apples. Well, there wasn’t much to do about it but crank up the heat and start cooking them down. A little brown sugar is nice for this, because it helps the sugar in the apples caramelize and get nice and gooey. At least that’s what I tell myself when I want to add more brown sugar. All told, I think I added about six tablespoons to this huge pan of apples, which is not so much when you think about it. I also added liberal sprinklings of cinnamon—you can never have too much!—and dashes of cloves, nutmeg, and allspice, because I have this problem where if I add one of those things, I have to add all of them.

How long the apples take to be finished depends on how many of them there are, how hot you have your stove, and how much you’re stirring. I think I kept the pan at about medium heat and stirred pretty regularly. It speeds up as they start to cook down and there’s more space in there, but it’s still a pretty variable process. Just cook them until they’re soft and juicy enough for your liking and they taste good. Then they’re ready to be eaten straight up (my favorite way) or in oatmeal (my other favorite way). It’s like apple pie without the dessert-for-breakfast guilt.

And now, bringing this all back around to what’s most important in life is Mr. Joe Strummer.

May you always have plenty of apples, my darlings.

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