Friday, November 7, 2014

Some A−peel−ing Facts on "Apples" & “Caramelized Applesauce”

Benevento, Come on in! I have coffee brewing, would you like a cup? Can it be…. I feel a big chill in the air! When it gets cooler, I love to open the windows and just be able to breathe the crisp air that comes at this time of year. The chill in the air means sweaters, jackets, and rosy cheeks on children’s faces from playing outside in the leaves. To me this is a magical season. The colors of the leaves, with its gold, red, and green hues are so brilliant, it is like a kaleidoscope of colors. The leaves are falling fast but will not last too much longer, so make sure you get to see some trees in their magnificent colors. Pumpkins, apples, Indian corn, gourds, and Turkeys are all around us. The hustle and bustle of the approaching holidays, Thanksgiving and my favorite of all is Christmas. As you look inside the windows of the houses, you can see families cooking, fireplaces lit, and you get the feeling of a warm cozy home. Cooking hearty meals, such as stews, soups, baked bread, and apple pies are all aromas that enhance your senses that fall is here. As you take a brisk walk in the nippy air you can see pumpkins, wreaths, and scarecrows decorating the houses on the blocks. To me fall is also a time to be thankful for your family and your friends. So, now that you know what autumn means to me, come along and let us explore the “Apple.”

Originally founded in 1904 National Apple Week, was expanded in 1996 to three months, from September through November. Apples are one of the few fruits you can find fresh any time of the year. However, to me the apple is the one fruit that I associate with fall more than any other. Apples are America’s favorite fruit. The state of Washington grows the most apples followed by New York, and then Michigan. This is a perfect time of the year to head on out to an apple orchard and pick your own apples for a pie, applesauce, or even baked apples. But to me the best way is to pick one off of the tree and try it. There is nothing like the crisp, cool, crunch you hear as you take a bite of this juicy, sweet piece of fruit. Today we have numerous varieties of apples to choose from. Some are best to eat while others are best for cooking and baking. You must have heard the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This saying comes from an old English adage, “To eat an apple before going to bed, will make the doctor beg for his bread.”

My son, Paul at Maskers Orchard
I remember when I was about 11 or so, my parents would take the family to Maskers Apple Orchard in upstate New York, for a fun afternoon of apple picking. We would run and find a spot so we could pick the apples from the trees and put them in a big bushel.  My mom would make us lunch and we were allowed to picnic on the grounds in-between the apple trees. It was wonderful, especially on a crisp day. The orchard had a Country Store that we would visit at the end of the day. As we entered the store, the aromas that would encircle our heads were the smell of the apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The shelves held home made jams, jellies, honey, and candy apples. They also sold baked goods, like home made breads, cakes, and pies, which would fill the air with memories of home. The drive back home was always fun as we all decided on what we were going to make with all the apples. As I glanced in the back of the car, it was filled with baskets of apples and goodies. My mind went back in time to the fun memories of the day with my family. When I had my son, many years later, I continued the tradition of going apple picking at Maskers Orchards and now my son will have memories like I did. 

Some A−peel−ing Facts on Apples: 

Though some historians are in dispute over exactly who first cultivated the wild apple, many believe it was the Romans who discovered they could cultivate these wild apples into fleshy, sweet, and juicy fruits. Some historians report the apple's origins were rooted in Southwestern Asia, just south of the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

Apples are grown in every state in the continental United States. Top-producing states include Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and Virginia.

Two pounds of apples make one 9-inch pie. Apple blossom is the state flower of Michigan. 2500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States. 7500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world. 100 varieties of apples are grown commercially in the United States. Apples are grown commercially in 36 states. Apples are grown in all 50 states.

A survey by the American Pie Council and Crisco found that apple pie is the favorite flavor among one out of four Americans, followed by Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Pie, Lemon Meringue, and Cherry Pie. The term "as American as apple pie" traces back to 14th century England. The Pilgrims brought their pie-making skills, along with the apple seeds to America. As the popularity of apple pie spread throughout the nation, the phrase grew to symbolize American prosperity. A cosmetic dentist at New York University says apples are the perfect teeth cleaning and whitening tool. And lastly, apples provide whole-body health benefits.

So, in honor of the “Apple,” I am sharing with you my “Caramelized Applesauce” recipe. This recipe is a favorite among my family and friends. After years of making this scrumptious applesauce, I have perfected its fruity richness and I’m sure it will be very pleasing to your taste buds. Enjoy and make memories!

“Caramelized Applesauce

Cooking apples in a brown sugar syrup gives the finished applesauce a wonderful caramelized flavor. Watch the apples carefully while cooking; they should be tender but still a little chunky. If you like a smooth consistency, (what I like) put in blender, food processor, use an old fashioned masher, or an immersion blender for a thinner texture after it is cooked. 

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbs. plus 1/2 cup water
5 apples, (whatever you like, but Granny Smith is the best) peeled, cored & cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar and the 2 Tbs. water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture resembles maple syrup, about 7 minutes. Add the apples, lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and slightly broken down but are still chunky, 20 to 25 minutes. If the mixture starts to get dry, add the 1/2 cup water during the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking. Serve the applesauce warm or at room temperature. Makes 2 cups. Double recipe if you want to make more.
(Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen)

Till Next Time………..

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Love the idea of using brown sugar to make the applesauce caramelized! My son LOVES applesauce, so I'll have to try this when he comes home. We also used to go apple picking with my parents in Michigan, and they were so good off the tree! I totally agree!

    1. Dear Christina,
      Thanks for your lovely comment. I am so glad that you enjoyed this post. This recipe is so delicious and I also like your son, love applesauce. There is nothing like a bowl of apple sauce with a touch of cinnamon on top. Yes, apple picking is a lot of fun and eating one straight from the tree is awesome. They always seem to taste better that way. Thanks for visiting tonight, and have a super weekend!
      Dottie :)

  2. You are right. Fall is a magical time of the year better the winter really. I love the crisp air you get outside too. It is kind of reinvigorating.
    Funny enough I am just baking right now an apple cake! I can smell "cake" which means it must nearly be ready.. better check!
    Thank you for all these lovely facts about apple. I think even in Britain people love apple pies. It is probably the most popular dessert in this country.
    Your applesauce looks divine. Bookmarking. Have a nice weekend lovely Dottie xxx

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for your comment and for stopping over. I agree Alida, the weather we are having is not normally what we have in November. It is still mild here in the 50's and 60's. So those cool crisp days are inbetween the milder days. Yes, an apple cake, must be delicious! I wish I could smell it from here. I would think that apples are universal and across the world. No matter what you do with them. Yes, this apple sauce is really terrific. Not really hard to make, and the taste is super. Thanks for bookmarking..have a wonderful weekend dear friend, have to go to see what you posted on your blog, I am sure it is going to be amazing!
      Dottie :)

  3. Good evening Dottie ,
    You did a great post on apples , who don't like apples , everyone do whether they are raw or cooked , the apple is delicious .
    I did know there was so many different varieties of apples , and yes you are so right you can turn the A/C off and raised the windows to let the fresh air in and all the smells of cooking drift through the windows outside .
    The applesauce ingredients go together so well and I know it taste deliciously yummy . I will try it , there are apple orchards or plentiful here . I enjoyed the post on the apple , so many things I didn't know , thanks !
    Have a wonderful weekend and keep cooking . Thanks for sharing :) ~Nee~

    1. Good evening Nee,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree, I love apples. This is apple time, just like your pie (which I love) everything is coming up apples! My favorite apple I have to say is the Macintosh, and the Granny Smith for pies.But just as you said, there are so many varieties and I am sure they are all delicious! I hope that you do try the applesauce recipe. It is so super and so very good for you too! Thanks dear friend for visiting. So thrilled that you liked this post. I hope that you have a wonderful Blessed weekend with your family....
      Dottie :)