Monday, September 24, 2012

60lbs of apples, 18 bananas, & Homemade (unsweetened) Applesauce

 Most of the recipes I'm going to be sharing for a while will be either be breakfast or dessert recipes and I think all of them will contain either fruits, vegetables, or both. I've also re-stocked my gluten free flour supply since a mouse got into my last stash so a few will also be gluten free.
  This past weekend, we participated in Bountiful Baskets since we haven't bought anything in months (P.S If you want to learn about Bountiful Baskets see this post). We got 2-30lb boxes of Gala apples; one is for us and the other is for the animals or 1 1/2 for us, depending on how many recipes I want to try.

  In order to buy add-ons (aka the apple boxes) from B.B you first have to buy a regular basket which is actually 2 baskets: one is filled with different veggies and the other is filled with fruit. Well, the types of food in the main baskets varies so you don't always know what you will get and that is how we ended up with 18 bananas. I bought a few small zucchini from the store earlier to use in a brownie recipe since one of the girls said they wouldn't have any this week for the boxes and I got a small bunch of 5 green bananas in case too. We ended up getting 2 small bunches of bananas in our fruit bag and another bunch in a separate add-on that my mom got which makes for a lot of bananas. Last week we didn't buy a bunch of bananas from the store and every healthy recipe I found to make used bananas in some way and now we are overrun with 'em. I actually  bake more with bananas than eat them as is since they can be used instead of oil, butter, and used as a natural sweetener.
 Since I prefer to eat natural (unsweetened) applesauce and use it in most of my baked creations instead of oil I kept this plain, but you can add some cinnamon into the mix if you want. The apples I used were sweet enough so even if you or your family likes the sweetened applesauce, this natural version would even pass the test. I served some of the hot, mushy (but not pureed) apples to my dad with his dinner with a little fresh cinnamon on top and he liked it so much that he had cooked apples on top of some ice cream for dessert.

>Do you have a favorite recipe using bananas or apples? I have recipes some saved to maybe make (and I've made a few banana bread recipes), but I want to get some new ideas. Tell me a few of your favorite recipes.

Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce
yields: about 6 pints

4-5lbs apples, peeled, cored, roughly cut
1 1/2 cup water
juice of 1 lemon

-Here is a good site to find which apples are best for eating plain, cooking, and tells you the characteristic of just about every type of apple.
-I used an 8 section apple corer which cut the apples small enough to cook quickly.
- I used an organic lemon, I just put half of the lemon in the pot after I juiced & de-seeded it.
-This is equally good served as is (not pureed) with a little cinnamon sprinkled on top.

1. In a large pot add the water and fresh lemon juice. Add the freshly prepared apples as soon as you are done cutting them so they don't brown as fast.
2. Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and cook for 30 minutes. Be sure to stir the mixture every 10 minutes so all of the apple cook evenly instead of having mushy apples on the bottom and hard apples on top.
3. By now the apples should have started to break down and can be easily broken with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and let cool for 20 minutes. For a chunky applesauce, you can mash the apples with a potato masher or for a smoother applesauce, puree in a blender or food processor.
Tip: If your applesauce it too tart you can add a little bit of honey or agave.

1.You can store applesauce in a clean jar in the fridge for about 1 week.
2. You can can this by using sterilized jars and that whole process, but honestly sometimes it just takes too long, so you can add the cooled applesauce to freezer-safe containers or freezer bags (while leaving a little room for expansion), label, and freeze until you are ready to consume.

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