October Apples, Sauced in a Star Anise-Brown Sugar Syrup

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….’today, in October sun, it’s all gold—sky and tree and water. Everything just before it changes looks to be made of gold.’ (“The Wide Net” by Eudora Welty, The Collected Stories)

This “changing-time” is apple season…days are still sunny and warm, but the evenings are cool and crisp. It is time to once again crank up the stove and do some more serious cooking. Apple Sauce is a favorite of mine, but it’s almost impossible to find any canned or jarred product that is truly satisfying. The best in the world is homemade and a bit chunky in my opinion.  I enjoy a bold flavor in my sauced apples so I often make my own.

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A few years ago I bought a hand crank apple peeler that clamps onto my kitchen counter and is honestly just so much fun to use that I sometimes get a bit carried away and keep on peeling ’til there is not much left but the core! For making apple sauce this is one kitchen gadget/tool that you must have.

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Beautiful apple peel ribbons.

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Apples from a neighbor’s tree.

I made up a simple syrup using cranberry juice, star anise seeds and brown sugar. The peeled and chopped apples simmer and cook down in this very flavorful syrup making the final product uniquely delicious.

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Apple sauce put up in wee jars so each bite is fresh.

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Pick some local apples and make up a batch of this recipe…any type of tart, crunchy apple works…spread finished apple sauce on toasted bread, a turkey or grilled cheese sandwich or serve with your next pork roast. These little jars make very nice fall/winter gifts as well.

October Apples, Sauced in Anise-Brown Sugar Syrup

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Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lbs tart fall apples – Honey Crisp, MacIntosh, Arkansas Black or Granny Smith
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 2 cups raw/brown sugar
  • 2 whole star anise seeds
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

  1. Peel apples & rough chop. Put in a stainless steel cook pot.
  2. Add the Star Anise simple syrup to the pot. Turn heat to medium high. Stir mixture until a soft boil begins then turn to simmer. Stir every so often to keep apples from sticking. Cook down until mixture has thicken but is still chunky.
  3. Remove pot from stove and stir in lemon juice.
  4. Spoon apple sauce into small glass jars with tight-fitting lids and process in a water bath for 20 minutes. Remove jars from water & set on a wire rack to cool. You should hear a soft “thump” when lids seal properly and they will be concave. Cool completely and store in pantry until ready to eat. Depending on the size of your jars this recipe makes 6-8 jars.

How to make simple syrup:

  1. Put 2 cups cranberry juice, 2 cups raw/brown sugar & 2 whole star anise seeds in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar has dissolved and turn heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes until mixture thickens slightly. Set aside to cool. Use immediately or chill in a glass jar with a lid.

How to do a simple water bath processing:

  1. If you have a canner then fill with enough water to cover the size jars you are canning up to one inch above the jar tops.
  2. Place filled jars in wire rack that comes with the canner pan and lower it down into the water. Bring water to a rolling boil. Process jars in boiling water for 20 minutes. Turn heat off and leave jars in cooling down water for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove jars from canner to a wire rack and let cool completely. Jars will seal as they cool making a soft “thump” sound. Jar lids will be concave when jars are properly sealed.

Note on canning:

I have used a large stock pot with a round wire cooling rack sitting on the bottom of the pan instead of a canner kit. You just put the rack in the pot, place jars, not touching, on the rack & gently cover tops of jars with water. Continue the processing as you would when using a canner from this point on.

Teresa Blackburn     http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

18 thoughts on “October Apples, Sauced in a Star Anise-Brown Sugar Syrup

  1. Those look like Arkansas Blacks! We had a small tree in our yard in Nashville, how I miss them-can’t find them in Virginia. Star anise is one of my secret weapons; love the flavor it gives!

    1. Hi Alisa, it’s so nice to hear from you. I enjoy your blog so much! Are you living in Virginia now? I am so behind on what is what these days due to work and following the train wreck of the election…yes these are Arkansas Blacks which I love. A neighbor across the street has a tree and these are from her tree. Wonderful apple indeed.

      1. Hi Teresa! We moved to VA in 2014 for my husbands job but we are in the process of moving back to Nashville again-for his job. It will be nice to get back to a familiar place and many familiar faces, and hopefully, some of those wonderful apples!

  2. There is nothing like homemade applesauce and it has to be chunky in my books too! I like the star anise addititon. What are those exotic black skinned apples from your neighbor’s tree called? So cool looking!

    1. Hi Johanne, these are called Arkansas Black and I just love them. A couple of years ago I bought a bushel while traveling through Arkansas and did a cake on my blog with them. My neighbor told me recently that she has a tree of them so I scooted over and picked a few! Very delicious type of apple and pretty hard to find.Hope you are well.

  3. The Arkansas Black apples are quite unique looking, I have never heard of them before. The apple sauce looks delicious and am sure your kitchen must have smelled heavenly while preparing it. I can’t wait to try it Teresa 🙂

    1. These apples are unique in many ways…and it seems you cannot purchase them except this time of year at some farmer’s markets. These were from a local tree and many I picked off the ground so they were pretty coated with dust and dirt. The flavor is just great after they are cleaned up and cooked down! Thanks Marisa.

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