It’s applesauce time again. My freezer is full of it, so I’ve forced myself to stop cranking it out. I’ve got to leave room for all the blueberries and blackberries I’ll want to freeze in a few weeks!
Every June the side yard fills with piles of apples that have mashed themselves onto the ground. The smell of their sweet fermentation fills the air. Once, a delivery guy looked at them all and commented, “Well, you have an apple problem.”
Actually, they’re great. They’re the secret ingredient necessary for making applesauce just like Mom used to make.
Mom’s applesauce was green and very tart. It was absolutely the best eaten out of the small round container in my Tupperware lunchbox in elementary school. When packing my lunch in the morning, Mom would pull a block of applesauce out of the freezer and shave off enough to fill the little container. If I was really lucky, by lunchtime it would have melted perfectly so the outside would be thawed but a few crunchy ice crystals remained at the center. The weird color was also a great topic of conversation at the lunch table, and I loved it.
Time went by, my mom stopped making applesauce, and later she passed away. I missed the green applesauce but had no idea what the secret to making it was.
Ah! The secret! I chopped some up and cooked them. They tasted right, but the sauce wasn’t green. And the little, mealy things took forever to chop.
The next year my dad was back. “Why don’t you get a sauce maker?”
I went to Rural King and there it was, a cheap knockoff version of my mom’s Squeezo Strainer. And now, here I am. The applesauce is perfect! Tart and quite green.
I boil the apples whole until they start to explode. I like the way they turn from green to yellow right at the water line to make interesting patterns. Then I dump them into the hopper on my strainer, turn the crank, and the pulp is separated from all the other stuff. It works great and seems to be the key to the green color of my mom’s applesauce. The apples and the sauce are completely inedible until you add a little sugar and salt.
Then it’s perfect.
Oh…and for interesting insights into inedible apples like mine I suggest watching The Botany of Desire, which is a beautiful documentary about how certain types of plants including apples have spread across the world by using people.