Although Texas will forever be the homeland, I actually spent quite a few of my teenage years outside of that promised land and in the great, glorious flatness known as the Midwest. My father’s job moved us up there, and we spent many happy, frozen years there until I left for college (and intermittently since) and my parents began the slow return to their roots.
Most importantly, thanks to our wonderful Village in the Midwest, I learned about Apple Day. Apple Day is a magical time of year that signfies the beginning of fall and the filling of the house with delicious-smelling and tasting things. Some families make pies, some families make cider, some families make applesauce. And sweet apple blossoms, are they delicious. I am not naturally disposed to like applesauce but I can’t keep my paws off of this stuff. I’m pretty sure they sprinkle crack in it when I’m not looking. (Which is a hilarious thought to me because these people are the least likely of all people I’ve ever met to be remotely associated with anything remotely untoward. I love the paradoxical mental picture of these amazingly sweet apron-wearing church-going ladies doing drug deals with applesauce.) It’s good. Like, really good.
So, now that I am an adult (which is another hilarious thought to me) and have my own family, I figured it was time to have our own Apple Day. Mama kindly brought me 2 bushels of Paula Reds and we went to town. Even the Saurus got in on the action: he LOVED to put the apples in the pan and arrange them just so. There are precious videos that I will treasure forever. (Don’t mind his forehead in the pictures – we did this after the panic-inducing, skull-fracturing, ER-requiring debacle)
This year we made 6 varieties: original, brown sugar, pear & vanilla, blueberry, raspberry/blueberry, and cinnamon. Well, 7 varieties, actually: I made one batch of cinnamon but accidentally used Saigon Cinnamon, which apparently is like the hottest stuff out there and makes the Saurus break out whenever he rubs it all over his face. Oops. So, I saved that one for the adults and make another batch with baby-friendly cinnamon. Who knew that was a thing?! I suppose giving your kid hives is one of those parenting mistakes you only make once. Hopefully.
There is no real recipe for this applesauce, and I’m fairly certain it’s someone’s time-honored family secret, so I have no magic formula to share. But I can tell you that it involves boiling some apples (and other fruits), mashing them up the old-fashioned way (using one of these chinois things), and adding some sugar.
So, I can’t give you the recipe, but I can give you an invitation. Next year (and every year), at the beginning of fall, bring over your apples and we’ll all do this together.
I love the old-fashioned-ness of Apple Day: families in the kitchen together, the glorious smell of warm apples and cinnamon, and doing things the right way – no fancy technology, just dirty aprons, sticky hands, and lots of laughter. The way life should be.
We hope your home is blessed with the same: good food, good smells, warmth, laughter, and family.