the gift of the bag of apples from our friends the Gombergs. The bounty they shared (it must have been more than 25 pounds) was astounding and I had several reactions. The first was gratitude. I was so delighted that they thought to give us some. The next was a personal challenge -- how many ways I could I use the fruit and what recipes could I create. The last and most surprising was the memory the apples stirred.
It is not even a real memory or my own memory. It is a memory of mother's. She once told me that when I was about two she, dad, my grandparents and I went to an apple orchard in upstate New York. Supposedly, I lifted up a full bushel of apples and hoisted it in the air. Perhaps I even walked a few steps with it. There are no photos of me doing this, only this hazy memory from my mom, my memories of her in danger of going wispy around the edges as she left us much too young with her mind and senses slowly fogged by disease and dementia.
In my mind's eye it is a breezy but warm day. The trees around us are filled with Macintoshes, the favored apple of my New York youth. A small, dark-haired girl in a short white dress with browned arms and legs is lifting a bushel basket full of the apples up into the air, surprised at the attention the adults she loves are giving her for such a simple thing. She is only trying to help. The basket, probably almost as big as her, is loosely woven out of thin slats of shaped wood and is worn and well used with bits of scuffed green and red paint in spots. The handles cut into the toddler's pump hands. She takes a few steps towards the adults. Someone reaches to take the basket from her and she plops down on the ground as the weight suddenly shifts. Before she can cry or even laugh as the grass tickles her thighs, her mom scoops her up and hands her an apple.
|The bag of apples from the Gombergs|
Roasted Apple Sauce with Warm Spices
The Gombergs gifted us with apples of the Beverly Hills variety, which have a yellow-green skin and are slightly tart. Pippins or Gravensteins would make a good substitute.
Oil to grease baking dish
3 lbs. apples, unpeeled and cut into 1"-2" chunks (about 8 cups)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. roasted ground coriander
1/4 tsp. roasted ground cumin
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10"x14" baking pan, set aside. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the apple cider vinegar, and then mix with the coriander, cumin, ginger and cinnamon. Place in prepared pan and put in the oven. Bake uncovered for about 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally. Cover with aluminum foil, stirring occasionally and bake until the apples are tender (about 1 hour or so more, timing will vary.) Mash lightly. Taste, add sugar to taste if desired.
For other recipes featuring the Gombergs' apples see:
Apple and Cranberry Pie with Granola Streusel
For a collection of other recipes featuring apples, click here -- including baked, salads, candied and caramel.