One of the happier symptoms of this chronic condition we call adulthood is the ability to see beauty in imperfection. Maybe it's just nature's way of steeling us to continue looking in the mirror morning after morning, year after year, but the charm of the run-down and slightly spent seems to grow more obvious all the time.
Sure, it's nice to be able to cast off some of the restlessness of youth at a certain point. But the real benefits of this aging vision are, of course, culinary. Isn't everything?
Folks around here have been weighing in on bruised bananas and foods past their prime in the last few weeks. Since every CSA member and prolific gardener ends up with a rapidly ripening embarrassment of riches from time to time, I want to add one of my favorite tried-and-true recipes to the discussion. Made without the pears and with sugar, this is my mom's crowd-pleasing applesauce recipe. The unsweetened version was one of my own and my children's first foods. This unfussy sauce is accommodating, easily scalable, and rose-colored. Just like the glasses on those gorgeous, wise eyes of yours.
About the author: Carolyn Cope writes Umami Girl and manages a CSA in Hoboken, New Jersey.
- 3/4 cup water
- 6 pounds total apples and pears, washed, quartered, and cored (leave peel on)
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup agave nectar or 3/4 cup granulated sugar , or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the apples and pears along with the salt. Cover and reduce the heat to keep the liquid that the fruit releases at a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the fruit has lost its shape and is very soft. Remove from the heat and cool slightly before proceeding.
. Set a food mill (fitted with the fine disc, if applicable) over a large bowl and spoon the apple-pear mixture into the mill in batches. Process the sauce by turning the handle of the food mill clockwise, reversing the direction for one revolution occasionally to remove the skins from the bottom of the mill. Continue until you have processed all the fruit and only the skins remain in the mill.
Add the agave nectar or sugar and the cinnamon and stir thoroughly. When cool, divide into storage containers and refrigerate or freeze as desired. The sauce freezes very well for up to a year.