With the fall apple harvest now complete, ’tis the season for applesauce. Or should I say, with the box of soon-to-be rotting apples in my basement, I better get my lazy cheeks in gear and salvage what I can. With visions of applesauce bubbling away on the stovetop, not to mention the sweet aroma wafting through the house, I had every intention of dutifully washing, coring, peeling, quartering, simmering, mashing, blending…. But then I got tired just thinking about it. So I wondered, what if I just cored the apples and baked them till the skins got soft and easy to peel? Then bake them some more until they easily and effortlessly dissolved to mush on their own. Perhaps they would even adopt a sweeter flavour and my manicure would be spared the indignity of discoloration from the apples’ acid. When I was a child, I thought of applesauce as “old people food,” and would only eat apples in their original form. We had an orchard and the best time of year was when the Spartans were just about ready. Before the vibrant red blush overtook the green patches, I would sneak into the orchard and snap them off the tree. They were so hard and juicy and sour, contorting my little round face into what I’m sure looked like the mask from the “Scream” trilogy. Despite my Father’s warnings about getting a nasty stomachache from eating green fruit, I never succumbed to the potential hazards of crunching on under-ripe Spartans. As an adult however, I am continually discovering that many things, which I held firm in my youth, are going soft. Produce is one of them. Although I genuinely enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, they have a bad habit of going bad before getting eaten. Just last week my mandarins went moldy, the cherry tomatoes shrivelled up and died, mushrooms become “exotic”, green and red peppers turned to salsa, and the grapes converted to raisins. I’m so accustomed to throwing away spoiled produce that I mistakenly tossed some perfectly good tomatillos thinking they were limes gone moldy. Although I try to salvage overripe bananas by popping them in the freezer for later use in banana bread, there’s so many in there that every time I open the door, a bunch jump out and hit the floor. I attempted to rescue some grapes last month by dehydrating them. Although I tried to convince myself that they looked like big, juicy raisins instead of big, juicy insects, it was no use. So after 4 hours in the convection oven and two weeks in the fridge, I pitched them out the kitchen door. I find I’m much more attentive to fruit that’s new to my palate, like pomegranates and persimmon. And at $2 - $3 apiece, they’re so bloomin’ expensive I wouldn’t dare let them go bad. In the meantime, I’m still thinking about those apples in the basement. I’m sure if I wait long enough, they will turn to sauce on their own and I won’t have to pick even one from the box.
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