You can call this an adult applesauce, perfect as an accompaniment to roast pork, sausages, wild boar, and chicken. Many kids will enjoy it in such a context, too, but it’s not the sort of applesauce most kids would appreciate for breakfast. I like to leave the apples somewhat chunky and so I use a hand-held masher to break them up. This recipe makes a lot but if you don’t feel like canning it, you can simply cut the recipe in half.
To read about apples as a superfood, visit Helen Nichols’ website, well-beingsecrets.com. You’ll find her post 34 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Apples here.
1 bottle hearty red wine, such as zinfandel or syrah
3 cardamom pods, cracked open
3-inch cinnamon stick
½ vanilla bean
1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
Sugar, if needed
Put the apples into a large pot and add the wine.
Cut 2 large squares of cheesecloth, set them on top of each other and put the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and peppercorns on top. Gather the cheesecloth around the spices and tie it tightly with kitchen twine. Tuck it into the pot.
Set the pot over high heat until the wine begins to boil and then reduce the heat so that it simmers very gently. Partially cover the pot with its lid and cook until the apples are very tender and begin to fall apart, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, fully cover the pan and let rest for about 30 minutes.
Use tongs to remove the spice bag and set it aside. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the apples to a large bowl. Return the pot with the cooking liquid to medium high heat, return the spice bag to the pot and cook until the the liquid is reduced by about three-quarters and has the consistency of syrup.
Discard the spice bag and stir the syrup into the apples. Use a hand-held potato masher to crush the apples or, if you prefer a smoother apple sauce, pass the entire mixture through a food mill fitted with the larger blade. Taste and correct for sugar, if needed, adding a tablespoon at a time until it is as sweet as you like.
Serve warm, or cool to room temperature and refrigerate until chilled. Applesauce will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
To preserve the applesauce, sterilize canning jars and their lids and rings according to manufacturer’s instructions and continue to follow the instructions for canning based on the size of the jars.
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