Put your hand up if you, like me, get absolutely crazed during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I’m currently preparing for houseguests (my lovely mother-in-law and her sister are visiting for Christmas 2.0 this coming weekend), which means I’m cleaning and organizing like a maniac. Part of my organizing frenzy is the always fun “clean out the fridge and try not to scream” game. Now, I generally keep a pretty clean fridge and we don’t have things that sit in there for months (except condiments, mmmmm, condiments). But I find it doesn’t matter how clean you keep the fridge, or how disciplined you are about not buying more food than you can realistically eat… it still gets scary in there.
One element of this round of “clean out the fridge and try not to scream” involved me finding a creative use for a bag of apples that were aging gracelessly in my crisper drawer. I think I’ve mentioned before that I have this compulsion when it comes to apples. They’re available year-round and I frequently toss them in my cart without stopping to think about whether I need more or not. At the moment, though, I’m on a citrus kick (it happens around this time every year) and I’ve been ignoring apples in favor of tangerines, clementines and grapefruits. So the last batch of apples I had bought were still sitting in my crisper, getting younger by the day (not). What to do, what to do? I didn’t really feel like baking with them, and I have an idea percolating for a fun muffin that doesn’t involve apples anyway, so baked goods were out. But I had another trick up my sleeve – applesauce! It’s one of my go-to recipes for using extra apples; it’s easy, healthy and delish. Sweetened with a kiss of maple syrup and flavored with a generous helping of cinnamon, this applesauce will take tired apples from your crisper and turn them into a healthy treat that will definitely not last long in your fridge.
4 pounds apples, peeled and large-diced
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 generous teaspoon cinnamon
- Pile apple pieces into a Le Creuset (3 1/2 quart capacity or larger) or other heavy pot and begin cooking on high, tossing frequently. When apples are beginning to warm and a few have acquired golden crusts, turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Add maple syrup and cinnamon and stir thoroughly to combine.
- Place lid on pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, for two hours.
- Remove lid and stir. Continue cooking on medium-low until apples are extremely soft and falling apart. Mash with a fork (or potato masher) to achieve desired consistency.
- Try to let it cool before you dive in, or you’ll burn your tongue!
Source: Covered In Flour