My Grandma Erma’s Chunky Applesauce and sweet gherkin pickles.
This concludes my menu as a little girl at my Grandmother’s Easter table each year growing up. Yes. Chunky applesauce and sweet gherkin pickles. Throw in a house surrounded by a fringe of bright yellow daffodils and the smell of Noxema and you have my Grandma Erma. Don’t forget a game of Chutes and Ladders! My Naturally Sweetened Easy Chunky Applesauce is in honor of her.
My Grandma has been gone for many years now and no one has her recipe, but my Mom watched her make her famous applesauce once. Jonathan apples were slowly cooked down and broken apart with a fork. Cinnamon and Sweet N’Low were Grandma’s flavoring and choice of sweetener. Sweet N’Low. Really? My Naturally Sweetened Easy Chunky Applesauce takes advantage of beautiful Fuji and Honey Crisp apples, some Penzey’s Baking Spice, Single Strength Vanilla Extract and a couple tablespoons of pure maple syrup.
This is an easy recipe to throw together in a pot and let cook for about 45 minutes.
Homemade applesauce is full of texture and bright flavor. I learned that Jonathan Apples are harvested in fall so apparently my Mom was peeking into Grandma’s Applesauce pot sometime after Easter. So I bought apples that I love and had beautifully colored peels. I never peel my apples for sauce as I love the added texture and fiber. If that not your thing, then feel free to get out the peeler. You can also half peel the apples so you have a bit of peel for added nutrition while satisfying everyone at the table.
I cut the apple wedges up this time for small, bite size pieces of peel that would not bother anyone. For another texture variance, I even added a Harry and David’s Royal Riviera Pear from the box my husband had surprised me with. You could add a plum or 2 for a bit of rosy color to your applesauce.
I added about 7 medium to large apples plus the pear to a large pot with a cup of organic, fresh pressed apple juice. I brought to a simmer and cooked the apples for about 45 minutes or until they were mostly broken down with many large pieces.
Taste your applesauce at this point and then spice it up with some cinnamon or even powdered ginger. Last year’s applesauce was spiced with Penzey’s Powdered Ginger and I loved it. This year, I added Penzey’s Baking Spice which is Hand-mixed from: Ceylon & China cinnamon, anise, allspice, mace and cardamom. I also added 2 tablespoons of Maple Syrup and a tablespoon of Penzey’s Vanilla Extract.
I then poured this into a container and chilled overnight as that’s how Grandma served it. Remember when flavoring and sweetening your applesauce, it will taste stronger when cold and after all the flavors have melded together.
When I tasted this Naturally Sweetened Easy Chunky Applesauce the next morning before I plated and shot this photo, there was truly a moment when I flashed back to my Grandma Erma’s Easter table. Just for a moment, I was dressed in my new Spring dress, white tights and shoes and was seated at her big, white table-clothed dining room table. Wide-eyed and waiting for Grandma to bring me ‘My’ Chunky Applesauce. She always moved the little glass dish of sweet Gherkin pickles close to me. I miss her so much.
I made this to take to our family’s Easter Dinner again this year. This was my best yet. I hope you love it as much as my family did. Most importantly, my Dad who grew up on this chunky applesauce, asked me to leave the rest of the leftovers there with him. I know Grandma would be happy with it as well.
How did I make Naturally Sweetened Easy Chunky Applesauce…healthier?:
- Grandma’s recipe sweetened with the chemical Sweet’N Low was replaced with natural apple juice and maple syrup.
- Applesauce is naturally fat free!
- Leftover applesauce is great as a jam for toast or added to a warm bowl of oatmeal.
- Children of all ages love applesauce and if you leave the peel on, there is an added fiber boost!
- 7-8 large colorful apples such as Golden Delicious, Fuji, Honey Crisp, or Pink Lady cored, and then cut into large pieces. May be peeled if desired, but I prefer the peels on. Optional: You may also add another fruit such as pear or plum for color and texture.
- 1 cup of organic apple juice. I love Kirkland Organic Fresh Pressed Apple Juice
- ½ teaspoon Penzey's Baking Spice. May also use Cinnamon, Powdered Ginger, or even Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 tablespoon Penzey's Vanilla Extract
- 1-2 tablespoons Maple Syrup, depending on the sweetness of the apples.
- Pinch of salt
- Wash and cut up your apples (and other fruit if using) and place in a large heavy bottomed pot.
- Add the apple juice and heat over medium heat until simmering.
- Lower the heat if necessary so the liquid is a medium simmer and cover with the lid or piece of foil.
- Allow to cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and to check to make sure the pot doesn't completely dry out.
- When the apples are soft, begin gently breaking apart some of the larger pieces of apple until you achieve a chunky looking sauce. About half sauce and half chunks.
- Add your spice, vanilla, maple syrup, and salt to taste. Remember that the flavors and sweetness will deepen as it chills. Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and then another only if needed.
- When you are happy with your flavor profile, you can serve warm, or my preference, pour into a container and chill for a couple hours or over night.
- Serve with sweet gherkin pickles.
- Have yellow daffodils on the table in honor of my Grandma.
The post Naturally Sweetened Easy Chunky Applesauce appeared first on Designing Vegan. If you make this applesauce, I’d love to see what other fruit your added to your apples. Post to Instagram or Facebook and tag it with #designingvegan
This Easter, I did something I’ve wanted to do for years! In addition to my wonderful applesauce, I treated myself to a Sweet and Sara Skipper Bunny, which is an 8-inch vegan dark chocolate bunny filled with Sara’s vegan marshmallow. I am still making my way through this delicious treat! I think so highly of Sara and this great business she runs, working long hours, side by side with her parents and sisters. Top notch products. If you haven’t tried her marshmallows, Easter treats, or my goodness…her dark chocolate covered graham crackers!
I’m working on a vegan homemade graham cracker recipe all because of my addiction to Sweet and Sara’s. Soon…