Saturday, December 5, 2009

Apple Scrap Applesauce

My kids and I eat a lot of apples. They are a whole food, super-cheap, full of nutrition and purely delicious. They are a lazy mom's food, since they take less work to serve than oranges or even bananas.

Bobby always need me to "start" his, which means I take the first bite. That first bite is hard for him to get his little teeth into. Daniel has recently been having me "start" his, too. They like having things the same. Then, they are ready for consumption.

I don't cook apples often because I don't need to. They are fine just as they are. Peeling and cooking reduces the nutritional content as well as costing extra money in ingredients and electricity. It takes extra work on my part. That is a lose-lose all around.

My kids don't always finish their apples, though. Amy Dacyczyn recommends making individual microwave apple crisps with these reject apples. Putting sugar and unsoaked grains onto a perfectly good apple seems like a bad idea to me.

When I find a half eaten apple, I chop it up, with the peel on, and throw it into a bag in the freezer. If I find an apple with a small rotten spot, I chop off the bad bit, chop up the rest, and throw it into a bag in the freezer. When the bag gets full, I throw them all into the crock pot with some water. I cook them overnight on low. I add a pinch of stevia, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. With little effort, I have turned my reject apples in to a prized treat: applesauce.

30 comments:

Scottish Twins said...

great idea!!

oceans5 said...

That is a good idea. I wish apples were super cheap around here. My family goes through them pretty quick.

I'm Lori...and maybe I'm you, too. said...

Sorry, but the former restaurant owner in me is gagging quite a bit on the idea of cooking leftover apples someone has already started to chew on. Seriously, for your own family, I guess there's really nothing wrong with it, but everything I've ever learned about cooking for people rebels at that.
And it's probably doubly hard for me since apples are ridiculously abundant in my life. My grandma had an orchard on her farm, and we used to take a bite of one and give the rest to a cow. Not wasted, really, but still...

Carla said...

I need to remember this. The kids are hard on apples so I usually cut them in slices so they will eat the whole thing. I would like to learn to make apple cider vinegar out of cores. I have always been interested in that since reading Farmer Boy :)

mama said...

I've done this too. Also, try not using the stevia - they are usually very sweet when cooked without adding anything but cinnamon :)

Captain Cleavage said...

This is actuay a good idea for our house...my hubs (with his infinite ist of crazy food allergies) is allergic to apple skins...

not the whole apple...ohhhhh heack no...just the skins! lol

Diana @ frontyardfoodie said...

AHH! That's an awesome idea! I would probably use maple syrup as a sweetener since stevia tastes a little weird to me....

Aiming4Simple said...

Thanks for this terrific idea. Those half-eaten apples look very familiar! =)

Clisby said...

I'm like Carla - I usually dole out the apples in slices so I don't end up with a chewed-up apple. I think your applesauce sounds fine - I figure, within a family, whatever germs are there, are there for everyone. I second the suggestion of leaving out the stevia as an experiment, just because so many apples are *so* sweet. My husband and I agree about most apple pie recipes - they call for far too much sugar. If the recipe says 1 cup, we put in 1/4 cup.

Blessed said...

Captain Cleavage--are you sure it is not actually pesticides your husband is allergic to? With me it is the whole apple--but some kind of enzyme that changes when cooked, so any cooked apples are fine.

I admit I am also a little bit grossed out if you are using the mouthed parts too, Emily. I like the idea of using all the edible parts--but I thought bacteria continues to grow even in the freezer (just very slowly). . .

Also, just this past weekend I learned a tip on getting apples cheaper through local farmers: ask them if you can buy their "seconds" which are the ones that have bruises or other flaws. They are sometimes half as much money per lb, at least according to my mother in law.

Rapunzel's Room said...

I also dole apples out in slices to reduce wasted apples. My girls almost never finish an entire apple. I guess it makes it less of a "lazy mom's food"

Atheist Mama said...

This is a great partially used apple plan :)

I've quit letting my daughter eat whole apples - it creates too much waste. Instead i cut them into slices and sometimes sprinkle them with cinnamon.

She usually eats them all up like that!

I'm not grossed out by this...re-using partially eaten apples...I know some people would be, but eh...as long as the germs stay in the family - who cares? ;)

Clisby said...

Wouldn't cooking the apples get rid of bacteria? It doesn't matter how much bacteria was there at first, as long as the heat kills it.

Roxanna said...

I am going to have to try this! Our oldest loves apples but will only eat a couple of bites and when it get's 'brown' he doesn't want it anymore. I am thinking about buying 1/4 or 1/2 cow so I don't know how much room I will have in my freezer though :)

MamaMay said...

I do the same thing only I hqve figured out that you can't let my kids *know* that is what happens to unfinished apples. Seems they will ask for a new apple every 2 minutes if they know that the "old" one will be used to make apple sause because they would much rather have the applesause than the apple!

Amber said...

Whoever recommended seconds is right. I just got about 20lbs of seconds for 6.00 at an amish farm up the road...!

That's a good idea to use the half eaten apples. I could cut away the chewed on parts though, but I'm a bit of a germaphobe.

TaraS said...

Lol - The Urban Peasant put out a great cookbook in 1989...in it he suggested using ALL the party dinner leftovers in making chicken stock. Not just the bones, but leftovers from people's plates and unfinished glasses of wine. I had the same wary response and have not tried it yet, but if it is good enough for The Urban Peasant, it must be fine! I will definitely try this idea for family applesauce...I've had to throw away a lot of half-eaten apples and it always pains me.

crabcakes said...

I have no problem with your method and think it's a great idea. If I share a toilet on a regular basis with a person, it's doubtful that a bitten apple when cooked for so long are going to harm me.

Good idea. I'm totally going to steal it.

Lindsay said...

Yeah, I wouldn't go for the half eaten apple thing either. It is just family, so I guess that is not too bad. Slicing them prior to eating as others said would be a great idea, and then you can serve it to guests as well!

Emily said...

I'm not sure germs could survive the freezing and cooking, but I've finished the kids' apple if I was in the mood for an apple, but not a whole one. Also, where I take the first bite of their apple, I don't think they fear my germs.

MamaMay, I'll keep that in mind that this should be a secret to my kids.

Tara, that is hilarious. I've put my kids' leftovers in my husband's lunchbox. A stock made out of everyone's leftovers must be safe since it's cooked.

Rachel said...

I have always had a problem with any fruits or vegetables in their natural, raw state. I like them cooked, preferably down to mush! So I do love applesauce. Sometimes I will eat an apple, but it takes a lot for me to get it down. I like bananas and grapes, don't care too much for citrus. What's a little germs among family? my mom has always said that kids need to eat some dirt just to be healthy!

Stacy said...

I do slices as well. I've made applesauce a couple of times in my crockpot and didn't need any sweetener other than pouring a little bit of almost any kind of juice on it to add a little moisture.

I portion out and save bananas in a similar way. My son tends to waste too much, so I give only segments. Whatever gets too soft looking but isn't rotten, I put into a bag in the freezer. These can be used later for recipes like banana pancakes or bread, and I also will chop up little bits to put in cereal if we're out of fresh bananas. My son doesn't seem to notice.

One thing to think about is that apples are very high on the "dirty dozen" list of high-pesticide foods on the Environmental Working Group website at www.ewg.org. I've quit buying regular and only go with organic for this particular fruit, and a few others like potatoes and most berries.

Anonymous said...

Good idea and yay for colored pictures! :)

Jen said...

And adding to the organic portion, if you can find someone who has let their apple tree go wild, apples that are buggy work fine for applesauce even if they are not great to eat. I know half a dozen people with an apple tree in their yard they do nothing with (which means no pesticides) including mine so I get enough free apples to do all the applesauce, apple butter and dehydrated apples I can handle. Add $13 for a bushel for eating and freezing and we are usually good on apples for a year. Use those connections Emily ;)

prism207 said...

Another vote that you leave out the Stevia. I make applesauce often, and have never needed to add any sweetener. My two year old has never had sweetened applesauce, and he still eats it as fast as I can dish it out!

Monique,Gerry and family said...

We save our apple peels and cores for our 4 guinea pigs...

Captain Cleavage said...

Blessed.
You know I wonderd that myself and asked him and his mom. She said that when he was younger she used to peel all the apples and he was fine. It wasn't until he was older that he started to react (hives on his mouth and face that would end up in his throat. They tried organic but he still had a recation (although not as sever)
I just chalk it up to yet another one of his strange allergies! lol

Alicen said...

I do this but I do cut off the part that has been chewed already. I'm a bit grossed out by apple that is already being pre-digested by my daughter's saliva.
It's a great thing to do with pears as well.

Anonymous said...

Why not just cut the apple up and give each child a piece instead of cooking apples with slobber on them?

We feed scraps to our animals.

Mandy said...

I love this idea!! I for one am not worried about my child's germs, especially when he'd be eating the majority of the apple sauce anyway. We buy only organic apples, and it really bothers me when they are wasted. I stock up on apples when I can find them at .99 a pound. Usually I end up just finishing the half eaten apples.

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