While visiting a smattering of apple farms located on the southwest end of San Luis Obispo City—banded together as the Avila Valley Apple Trail—I crunched on delicious slices of varieties such as Red Delicious, Pippin, Spitzenberg, and Braeburn.
Although the colors, sizes, textures, and levels of tartness and sweetness differed, these apples shared one important element: they exuded the essence of the impending fall season.
After visiting three of the trail's orchards and sampling several slices of variegated apples, I now have a refrigerator full of these healthy, phytonutrient-rich autumn fruits. Here's my first recipe of the new season: baked applesauce with ginger and orange.
Just enough sweet. Not too much tart. Perfect for the fall palate.
BAKED APPLESAUCE RECIPE
3 - 4 pounds crisp apples, cored and sliced
Zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon each of allspice, cardamon, cloves, and nutmeg
Feel free to leave the skins on for more fiber and texture, unless you are aiming for a smoother sauce.
Golden Delicious apples are considered the preferred variety for applesauce.
I used mostly Goldens, but threw in a few red varieties like tart Braeburns for a little pucker power.
I found that for every pound I baked, the yield was a little over one cup of cooked apples.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Zest and juice your orange and lemon and place in a small bowl.
Peel a 2-inch strip of ginger and grate into the citrus bowl.
Core and slice your apples and place in a 9 x 13 Pyrex baking dish.
Pour the citrus-ginger mixture over the apples and stir.
Stir again after sprinkling the spices over the apples.
Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven.
As the apples are baking, you'll wish you could bottle the heavenly aroma of the
spices, ginger and orange wafting through your kitchen.
Once every 15 - 20 minutes, remove the foil briefly to stir the apples
and notice how they start to disintegrate and fall apart.
Bake for a total of 40 - 50 minutes until the apples are very tender and their juices start to flow.
Remove from the oven and smooth them out as much as desired with a potato masher.
Let them cool.
I prefer to place my chunky applesauce in Mason jars and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
The harmonious flavors are wonderful spooned on oatmeal, topped with ice-cream,
or fabulous eaten as a lone snack.
I hope you'll feel inspired to get your creative juices flowing with one of
San Luis Obispo County's star autumn fruits.