When the tree leaves begin to turn fiery colors and it's time to don a sweater, it is New England apple picking season. Who doesn’t love the orchards with the wooden ladders, corn mazes, farm animals, and cider donuts? Our family of seven can pick a peck of apples each in under an hour--two if we linger sampling each variety or stop to watch the squirrels quarrel. Autumn is a time to pause and enjoy the brilliant blue October sky and bite into apples with abandon. With abundant bounty, we arrive home and show each other the fruit gems in our bags. Apples store well, so put them in the crisper of the refrigerator or in a cool dark space where they will last a month or more. Still, there are apples, apples, and more apples! This recipe—more of a method really— is simple to make and hedonistically satisfying. Please don't be tempted to add lemon juice, cinnamon or sugar. The subtle flavor nuances of a mix of orchard picked apples is an extraordinary experience in itself.
24 apples (or more), as many varieties as possible
1. Cut the apples in half and remove the seeds and core. Do not peel.
2. Slice the cored apple halves into three or four thick slices and cut each slice into thirds.
3. Place all apples in a slow cooker set to low for eight hours. Alternatively, put the apples in a Dutch oven and leave in a 200 degree F. oven overnight.
4. Run the apples through a food mill to remove the peels and improve consistency. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to serve.
This applesauce keeps for a week in the refrigerator. Stir into oatmeal, spread on buttered toast, serve alongside pork, or dig in with a spoon for a healthy, all natural back -to-basics snack. Avoid red delicious apples, they lack texture and taste. Fill recycled jars with this fall treat and give to friends and family.