Can I be honest with you? Tonight is the last night of Hanukkah, and I’m actually relieved that it’s almost over. The holiday season is certainly magical, but there’s only so much a parent of three young children can take. The anticipation and expectation of presents, the endless trays of food, the not playing with new presents mere days after receiving them. My head is spinning. I think this is why Jews look forward to Christmas so much. We get to sit back, go to the theater, and enjoy Chinese food while the majority of our friends are in the midst of holiday chaos. (Yes, those are our exact plans for Monday and I cannot wait!)
There are some dishes that are so ingrained in what we’ve come to expect from a holiday meal that it simply would feel wrong not to include them.
Enter Grammy’s applesauce. It is mandatory at both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, and for good reason.
This is one of those simple recipes that you never knew you needed until you make it for yourself. If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare and a foley mill, this can all be yours.
We inherited our foley mill from John’s grandparents roughly 10 years ago when they become permanent snowbirds and moved from Massachusetts down to Florida. I think Grammy continues to be amazed that we actually use it, but hello! look who her son married.
The process is straightforward. After coring and cutting 6-8 medium apples, place in a large bowl with water, lemon slices, and cinnamon to taste. Microwave on high for 10 minutes, tossing once in the middle, and then into the foley mill they go!
Both John’s grandmother and mom recommend the use of Cortland apples, but over the years with countless batches made, I’ve landed on Macouns. Now, I use nothing else.
Also, for those not in the know, applesauce freezes exceptionally well. We frequently make a double or triple batch, freeze them in small containers, and pull them out throughout the holiday season as needed.
Latkes, meet your match.
Quick search on Amazon, looks like you can get a decent foley mill for about $20!
- 6-8 medium Macoun apples (can substitute Cortland or Macintosh)
- ⅔ cup water
- ¾ cup sugar (optional)
- 2 thin slices lemon
- cinnamon (to taste)
- Wash but do not peel apples. Cut in quarters and remove core, then place in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add cinnamon, water, and lemon, then microwave on high 5 minutes. Stir, then cook on high another 5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, put apples through the foley mill (we use the insert with the medium-size holes). As apple skin accumulates and blocks the holes, remove and throw away. Continue processing apples until all are ground.
- Add sugar to taste -- make sure to try it before adding any incase your apples are sweet enough without! Then add a few tablespoons at a time, test, and reassess. Add lemon juice if necessary (I usually don't).
- Cool in refrigerator until needed.