Most people are drawn to farmer’s markets by the fresh produce and unique heirloomÂ varieties. Not me. I go for the bruised, blemished, overripe and sometimes ugly fruits and vegetables that get sold as Seconds. There are a lot of recipes where you want the highest quality, best looking ingredients. We first eat with our eyesÂ after all.
However after 2 years of attempted gardening, I am quite well aware of the fact that not all vegetables grow perfectly. These imperfect vegetables don’t end up making it to your supermarket though. Instead they get turned into the canned soups and sauces that you find on the shelf. There are lots of good recipes that were designed for less than perfect vegetables though; and it is a waste use perfectly formed vegetables. It is also really expensive to use them.
Applesauce is a great example. I don’t have the exact math, but if you were to use perfect apples from the supermarket to make applesauce it would definitely be a lot more expensive than buying a jar. Luckily I was able to pickup about 4 pounds of seconds from the farmer’s market for $2. With the free labor I was able to get out of Elena, my applesauce was a bargin. It didn’t end up tasting too much different from Mott’s, but I thought the texture was nicer.
This is a great recipe to work on with kids. After you cut the apples, they can help stir them and watch as they soften. Of course the best part is mashing them. We have a food mill, which is a lot fun, but if you don’t you can just use a wooden spoon or potato masher. The advantage of the food mill is that you don’t have to peel the apples because it filters the skins.
Instead of using an corer, I like to use a melon baller. Simply split the apple in half and then use the baller to scoop out the seeds and the stem. It could be that I have only used cheap, dull corers… but the Baller Method flies in comparison.
- 3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and quartered apples. (If you are using a food mill, you don’t need to peel)
- 4 strips of lemon peel – use a vegetable peeler to strip 4 lengths
- Juice of one lemon, about 3-4 Tbsp
- 3 inches of cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
- up to 1/4 cup of white sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Put all ingredients into a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks and lemon peels. Mash with potato masher.