Got an apple tree laden with fruit? Don’t let it go to waste – you can make healthy apple sauces and purées to see you through the winter
It’s the time of year when anyone with an apple tree or two in the garden will be trying to fathom out whatever to do with the sudden glut of apples on the trees and lawn. Fear not – cook up a few giant batches of apple sauce and with a bit of freezer space you’ll be stocked until next summer.
For a smooth apple sauce/purée
Good for: a silky, smooth ingredient to add to cakes and bakes or to give a bland gravy more zing.
How to make it: peel and core your apples (cooking apples are best as they will cook down to a fluffy pulp) and cut into 2cm chunks. Put them in a lidded saucepan with a few tbsp water (just enough to wet the base of the pan), then cover and cook over a gentle heat for about 10 min until completely soft, stirring often and reducing the heat if required to stop them sticking. Use a potato masher to make a smooth purée. Add a little sugar, honey or sweetener to taste, but it’s worth keeping a few unsweetened batches for baking.
For a chunky sauce
Good for: stirring into your breakfast yogurt, spooning over a pork chop or making a base for a pie or crumble.
How to make it: aim for a 50:50 mix of cooking apples and dessert apples to get a good balance of texture and natural sweetness. Prepare cooking apples as for the smooth sauce (above), and slice dessert apples into 1cm slices. Peeling these is optional, but the skins may go a little tough once frozen. Put them in a lidded saucepan with a few tbsp water (just enough to wet the base of the pan), then cover and cook over a gentle heat for about 7–8min, stirring to ensure they don’t catch. You want soft apples with a little broken down flesh. Sweeten if required with a little sugar, honey or sweetener.
For a roasted apple sauce
Good for: an accompaniment to cooked meats or oil-rich fish such as grilled mackerel.
How to make it: quarter dessert apples and remove the core. Spray with oil and put skin-side down on a parchment-lined baking tray. Roast in a medium-hot oven for about an hour until the apples have gone soft and golden and the skins look sticky. Cool slightly, then scoop out the flesh and mash. This should be naturally sweet, so no need to add any extra sugar.
And for extra flavour…
* Apples soak up spices brilliantly, so vary them according to what you’re using the sauce for. Cinnamon and mixed spice are really great for both sweet and savoury uses.
* Chilli, cardamom, coriander, fennel seed and black pepper all add a savoury edge.
* A splash of white balsamic will add a sweet tang to your sauce, perfect for rich meats.
How long does apple sauce keep?
Cooled apple sauce will keep for 4 days in the fridge, or put portions into strong freezer bags, where it should keep for up to a year.
Try out one of these apple sauces with our dijon pork with apple recipe.