Apples are at their best this season. If you visit a farmers’ market you can found many varieties of apples, tasty and delicious. I will not give you a recipe for apple pie or other delicious fruity sweets of the season, but an apple puree, fragrant and healthy, which you can use in many preparations.
Applesauce can be found in all supermarkets. But is it better than homemade? Definitely not. Please note that in this recipe I have used no sugar, yet the sauce is sweet. This is due to the variety of apples picked for this recipe. The Golden variety is very sweet apples, perfect for this recipe. No one will tell that it has no added sugar.
Applesauce is used in many recipes for cakes, cookies, muffins for cereal bars, granola, etc. Moreover it can be eaten as a simple and healthy dessert with yogurt, or plain, accompanied by walnuts or other nuts, dried fruit and lots of cinnamon. Many use it to replace some of the fat of a recipe (oil or butter) to make it lighter. It also fits well with pancakes and waffles, even with roast pork.
Who has not heard at least once in their life of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Apples contain an excellent combination of nutrients which provide particular benefits to health. A medium apple (160 g) provides the body with significant amounts of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and flavonoids substances, and all this with only 80 calories. The insoluble fiber in apples helps in digestion and better functioning of the intestinal tract, reducing transit time and contributing significantly to reducing constipation and preventing colon cancer. The soluble fiber in apples seems to cause a decrease in the levels of “bad» LDL cholesterol in the blood. Apples are rich in powerful antioxidants, such as vitamin C, quercetin, catechin, chlorogenic acid, etc. Antioxidants react chemically with oxygen free radicals and render them inert and harmless to the body, thereby providing protective properties on the cardiovascular function. The flavonoids present in high concentrations in apples, are also substances with strong antioxidant capabilities. Other flavonoids produce anti-inflammatory effects, inhibit platelet aggregation or contribute to the regulation of blood pressure. All these properties make flavonoids a particularly important tool for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular problems. Indeed, several studies have shown that eating apples is associated with a reduced chance of dying from a heart attack. Some scientists have noted that eating apples is associated with the protection against lung cancer. Generally, consumption of apples has been associated with better respiratory function in adults, probably due to its antioxidant properties. It is believed that flavonoids and phenolic acids contained in apple juice, help reduce inflammation in the airways, a key element for wheezing and asthma onset. The combination of the action of pectin and antioxidants contained in apples has been regarded as one of the best shields from diabetes. The presence of pectin has positive effect on glucose metabolism and helps maintain the desired blood sugar levels. Because of the low glycemic index of apples, their consumption does not cause a sharp rise in blood glucose levels, which is very important for maintaining the desired euglycemia, particularly in people with elevated blood sugar. Are you convinced?
On the other hand, apples are considered as the fruits with the most pesticides, so it is advisable to choose organic, otherwise wash thoroughly with soap and water. In today’s recipe apples are boiled with their skins. Fibers, flavonoids and quercetin are mainly in the skin of apples. Boiling them in their skins means that we take all these beneficial substances and certainly we save time. When the apples are almost ready, the skin will be separated from the flesh of the fruit and is very easy to use a pair of tongs to remove them. As for the spices, you add them if you want. I use a small amount to give flavor to the applesauce, without affecting the recipe you might want the applesauce for.
Let’s now see the recipe:
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Servings: yields approx. 900 grams (32 oz.), almost 4 cups
- 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) Golden apples
- 1 cup apple juice
- 2 pieces star anise
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- Cut the apples into quarters, without removing the skins.
- Put them in a large pot along with the apple juice and star anise.
- Cover with lid and simmer over medium-high heat until very soft and skin separates from the flesh of the fruit, for 20-25 minutes.
- Using a pair of tongs remove the peels of apples and anise.
- Mash apples as you have done with mashed potatoes.
- Taste it. If for some reason you wish to add sugar, do so at this stage and let the puree over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.
- Add spices, if desired, and stir well.
- Put the puree in glass jars. If you want to store for a long time time, make sure the jars are sterilized by following the same steps you follow for canning jam. Read an article about sterilizing in Magda’s blog.
In future posts I will give a couple of recipes requiring applesauce. So keep this one!