Ginger Cinnamon Apple Sauce

So maybe applesauce isn't the first thing you think of to make when it's 100 degrees outside, but this recipe might make you change your mind. I came home from the store today with a big bag of apples only to discover that I still had some in the refrigerator. I love apples to snack on, but even I can't eat 10 pounds of them... 

I've been out of town eating lots of good food for the last 10 days, so pie, while delicious, isn't on my "get healthier" menu. Neither are cake, cookies, or muffins. So what about all these apples? Applesauce!! Not just any ordinary applesauce though. I added 2 kinds of ginger, orange juice, and cinnamon to this to give it a nice zing. Here's what you'll need:

  • 6 apples (any variety, I mixed Gala and Honeycrisp)
  • 1 orange
  • 2 TBL fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 C crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Start by removing the core and chopping the apples into about 1" cubes.  I always leave the peel on my apples because I like the texture they add, but you can peel them if you prefer. 

Put the chopped apples into a saucepan. Then zest the orange and add it to the apples along with the juice of the whole orange.

Cut off a 2" piece of the ginger and mince it. I don't worry about the peel. I'm not a real kitchen gadget freak, but I do love my hand chopper for jobs like this, but if you don't have one, just chop it finely.

Add the minced ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla to the apples along with about 1/2 cup water. Cover the pan, bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer. Give it a stir about every 15 minutes until the apples fall apart. I cooked mine for about 45 minutes.

Once the apples are cooked, it's time to blend them. I use my emersion blender directly in the pan, pulsing until it's the consistency that I like, which is a little chunky. Now it's time to give it a taste. This batch was sweet enough without adding anything, but sometimes you'll want to add some honey, agave, brown sugar, or whatever sweetener you choose. If it's too thick at this point, add a little water until it's the consistency you like. If it's too thin, just simmer it longer until it thickens.

When you're ready to eat some, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of the crystallized ginger on each serving and mix it in. I've added it all at once to the entire batch, but it gets too soft and you lose some of the distinct flavor if it sits in the sauce too long. This applesauce is good by itself, but it's also great mixed into plain Greek yogurt or on top of some ice cream. 

Here it is mixed with Greek yogurt and sprinkled with the crystallized ginger. It's what I had for breakfast this morning--delish!