Friday, September 30, 2011

Just Like Grandma use to Make


 After my grandmother passed away in January, we divided up the groceries in her kitchen and pantry. I don’t know why I’d never thought on this before, that we’d have to do it along with cleaning out all kinds of other stuff. I guess I’d never really had to be a part of this part of the process before. I didn’t think much of it—just took the bags of groceries with my name on them home and began putting them away… her brand name instant oatmeal (blech), brand name coffee (yummo- but alas, ½ caf.) and so on until the bag from her freezer. In this bag was homemade strawberry freezer jam and Gram’s homemade applesauce. Oh, what treasures!
Over the past few months I have parceled out this goodness and thought on my Gram lots. I have a few small treasures that were passed on to me from Gram’s estate but I didn’t expect to have such warm fuzzies about her applesauce and jam. Oh, how I have delighted in getting a container out every few weeks, seeing Gram’s shaky and unmistakable handwriting on the lid, savoring the deliciousness of taste that is so heightened by my recollections of Gram’s famous apple squares and of jam on toast for a snack.
It was with no small bit of sadness that I pulled out the last of Gram’s applesauce from the freezer last week. I thought on Gram and what a hidden treasure these comfort foods have been to me and how much I wished I had her recipe for that applesauce.
Then it hit me the other day to ask my brother to share his crockpot applesauce recipe with me… it wouldn’t be the same but I’d be making applesauce and thinking of Gram.
Here’s what he sent:

My Brother’s Crockpot Applesauce
Step One: Get a lot of apples
Step Two: Use your apple peeler slicer on said apples
Step Three: Put about ½ cup lemon juice and ½ cup water in the bottom of the crockpot.
Throw the apples in and cook ‘em down until they’re soft (cook on high for 3 hours).
Step Four: Add 1 Tbsp. cinnamon and 1 cup Brown Sugar (instead of regular old granulated sugar. Gives it a caramel apple taste).
Then- mash up those apples & cook off the liquid until it’s a consistency you want.
Side note: Make sure you have plenty of liquid in the bottom of the crockpot- you don’t want to have to scrub out stuck-on apple!).
Winesap apples add a nice bit of tart & crispness.

I took my brother’s recipe and read my friend Kathy’s wonderful tutorial on her blog and decided to:
1. Add pumpkin pie spice when adding spices (because someone grabbed it instead of apple pie spice- it was a whoopsie that worked)
2. Use apples I just bought at a farmer’s market while on vacation: Honey Crisp, Northern Spy and Wolf River
3. Use my awesome masher from Pampered Chef (that funny looking black tool in Kathy’s photos)
4. Follow Kathy’s advice for canning the apple sauce (which was just as easy peasy as she said it would be!).

End Result: 
Amy’s Awesome Applesauce that tastes just like my Gram’s. I am over the moon ecstatic that it so closely resembles her recipe in looks and taste without a lot of fuss and bother. (Price: just under $1.00 per jar.)
Ah, the Joy!
Here’s to memories living on in new ways.

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