It's been raining for weeks. I wanted to do something with Aiden, but it had to be indoors. My cottage is very little, but I have a functional kitchen. Here’s what I did with Aiden a couple of weeks ago. I picked him up and we came home to my little house to have lunch. I bought a bag of red apples (about 12-15 apples) the day before. If you haven’t read my blog before, Aiden is my 4-year-old grandson.
My mom had this strange funnel with holes in it like a colander, but it narrows down into a tip and has a metal holder so it can stand up straight on a counter. Along with both of those, it has a wooden contraption with a round handle that you move around in circles into the funnel pushing against whatever food you have inserted. I saw something a little like it in a food catalogue. They called it a ricer, but this is different. It probably over 75 years old. The wooden beater looks like it caught on fire at some point.
My mother always made applesauce in it and today, so Aiden and I are going to make it also.
This process will probably work with a food mill also. If you want to make this with a child, here’s how to do it:
1. Buy a bag of apples-I bought organic because I heard on the news that strawberries and apples soak up a lot of pesticides.
2. Fill up your sink full of water. Get a step stool for the child and let him put each apple in the water and wash it really well.
3. Let the child dry each apple.
4. Using a butter knife, let the child cut all the apples in half. I usually cut the apples most of the way before I hand them to Aiden.
5. Let the child pull the drain up to let the water go out of the sink, hand him a large pot, let him fill up the pot half way with cold water.
6. Ask the child to put all the apple halves in the water.
7. You put the apples and water on high on the stove. Cook it really well until all the apples are just very mushy. It maybe takes 25-30 minutes, sometimes more. To be sure the apples are done, I stick a fork in an apple-if it goes in really easy, it’s done.
8. Drain the water out but leave about a cup of the water in the pot. It helps the applesauce to thin out a little.
9. Let all of it cool for about 15-20 minutes so no one gets burned. It stays hot for a long time.
10. Arrange the holder’s legs over a large bowl. Place them both in the sink so it’s easy to put enough leverage over the colander. Now put the colander in, get out the wooden masher, put about 5 or 6 apples in it, then get the child up on the stepstool, and stand by the child after you show him how to push the masher around in circles. At this point I said to him, “Use your muscles, Buddy.” I asked him to show me his biceps which he did.
11. Applesauce will immediately begin to come out of the holes into the bowl so keep smashing until all the apples are smooched. Add 2 or 3 apples at a time. The best thing is this contraption keeps all the skins, stems, and seeds out.
12. Take a break for a few minutes to rest your arms, come back, and smash again so you get every bit out. Take a butter knife, life up the colander and scrape all the applesauce off the outside into the bowl.
13. Let the child pour 1 cup of sugar into the applesauce and stir it in.
14. At this point you can add what you like, but last time I tried fine grating 1 orange rind and it was delicious. You could use cinnamon instead. My mom used to put a orange that had been cut in half upside down in the sauce and squeeze a bit of the juice into the sauce, then leave the orange in it while it’s still warm.
15. If you are opposed to sugar you could use honey instead.
16. Try to eat a small bowl while it is still slightly warm. It's so delicious. Aiden had a look of rapture on his face. "Yummmm," he proclaimed with a big grin. I put most of it into a container for Aiden to take home. I reserve a bowl for me for dinner.
17. I made sure to tell him that his Daddy’s grandma used to make it for him, now he’s making it!
It's so fun and a great way to spend an hour or so with your grandchild. It brings up lovely memories of my mother as well. She would have been 100 years old this March 20th. My niece used to plant flowers with her little girl on my mother's birthday. I think I'll make applesauce.