New England Apple Sauce: Pure and simple

November 07, 2016

Apple picking is a bit like heading to the beach on a summer day, or going out to cut down your Christmas tree from the farm; it's a seasonal tradition.

Autumn, or Fall, has always been my favourite season. Even with our milder incarnations of the seasons back in the UK; the turning of leaves from green to red, and the golden evening sunlight always won over a spring or summer day in my book.

When we moved to New England my love affair with Autumn took on a whole new level. Apple picking, hayrides, maize mazes, apple cider, cinnamon EVERYWHERE... this is what my heaven looks (and smells) like.

As is also tradition, we ended our trip out to Jaswell's Farm (my favourite of the RI apple picking options) laden with more apples that we knew what to do with.

At only fourth months old, and preemies at that, my boys won't be starting to eat solid food for a little while yet. But when they do, and I know I have to keep my expectations in check, I'd really like for them to have as much home made food as possible.

Apple sauce, as I've learned from my few years here, is one of the staples in the baby weaning arsenal. So when my boys are ready to move on from just milk, there will be some pure and simple New England apple sauce waiting for them in my freezer.

Unlike grown up apple sauce that you might find smothered over roasted pork, or sandwiched in-between crisp pastry with a side of ice cream, baby apple sauce is as simple as it gets.

First time foodies don't need added spices or sugars, so keep it simple when whipping up your first few batches.

Peel, core and chop the apples into chunks about an inch cubed. You should also be really vigilant for stray pips, bits of skin, stalk or core in this batch- whilst is doesn't matter so much for the big kids, the little ones should be getting a really fine, chunk free puree to start them off with.

Pile your apple in to a pan and splosh in enough water to come halfway up the fruit. Bring the pan and its contents to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the fruit is very, very soft.

Mash with a fork, or for a very fine puree use a blender. Your knowledge of your child's comfort level and skill with texture should lead you in deciding just how much to mash!

It's always best to store the apple sauce in sterilised jars, even if you're going to use the puree right away. I like to use glass as it's easy to sterilise and is infinitely reusable, plus the Weck (I picked up mine from Stock in Providence) jars are super cute. Sterilise your jars by immersing them in boiling water, or running them through the dishwasher- be sure not to touch the inside of the jars before filling them.

Fill the jars with the sauce, leaving a little room for expansion if you are planning on freezing them. Frozen puree can safely hang out, fully frozen in the freezer for 6 months- many outlets say it'll actually be fine for up to a year but with littles you want to make sure anything you give them is of the highest quality, and this stuff is so good it'll be devoured long before that anyway!

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