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Colleen's CSA Corner Week 15

Posted 9/29/2020 6:11am by Colleen Quiram.

This past weekend we went apple picking at my parent’s home. They do not have an orchard, just one huge old apple tree that produced a large quantity of apples this season. We have no idea what variety it is, but they are sweet, crisp, and packed with fresh apple flavor that is so typical of MN grown apples. We harvested only about 3 bushels of apples (6 CSA boxes for size reference) and made a quick batch of cinnamon applesauce when we got home. Between the scent of the apples, cinnamon, and the squash we had cooking in the oven, it truly smelled of fall in our house. My son’s girlfriend even made the comment that it smelled like Christmas in the kitchen!

While I love these cool fall days outside, I try to spend some of my time inside saving these fall flavors by canning applesauce, apple butter, making freezer pie filling, and finding locations cool and dry enough to store squash for long periods. I know soon I will return to the produce section of my local grocery store, and while they do a fabulous job of stocking fresh produce, the flavor just does not compare to fresh and homegrown. With another 5 ½ boxes of apples to process, I might be in the kitchen for a long weekend soon.

Making your own applesauce is incredibly easy, you can even make it in the crockpot. I do not use a set recipe as each Minnesota apple brings its own sweetness, I prefer filling the pan that I have and adding sugar to taste if needed. Both varieties of apples we sent this week, Honeycrisp in the Family and Sweet16 in the Mini, will make a wonderful small batch of applesauce.

  • Peel, core, and dice your apples
  • Toss with 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to prevent browning
  • Using a medium saucepan, pour just enough water or apple juice in the bottom to prevent scorching, add apples, cover, and simmer on med-low until apples are soft. If desired, add ½ tbsp cinnamon, dash of nutmeg and clove at this time, increase or decrease spices as you like.
  • Using a potato masher, gently mash apples until they are at the desired consistency. I use my immersion blender for a smoother consistency, however there are always a few chunks that I have missed.
  • Taste your applesauce and add small amounts of sugar for taste. For reference, I used half a cup for 18 apples this weekend.

With a small batch, I suggest placing your applesauce covered in a glass bowl in the refrigerator. Use within a week or two. If you would like to make a larger batch of applesauce, and need apples, all our retail stands have them available!

You are also receiving my absolute favorite squash this week, Buttercup, which I am enjoying for lunch as I type this post. This variety is called Sweet Mama and does not have the tell-tale ‘button’ on the bottom that most buttercup squash is known for. This variety of buttercup has a beautiful, deep orange flesh on the inside, and once cooked, it is thick like mashed potatoes. I prefer to cut squash in half, scoop out the inside, and bake cut side down for about 1-1 ½ hours at 350° until it can be pierced with a fork. Let cool, scoop out the insides into a bowl and mash gently using a fork. I place this squash into glass meal prep containers without any additional seasonings, and when I warm it up for lunch, I drizzle a little of our honey on top or add a pat of fresh butter. That is all this squash needs to be delicious! Although, I am sure you could add fall seasonings like cinnamon, nutmeg, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and maybe a splash of cream and it would be very similar in flavor to pumpkin pie.  

We have only 2 weeks left of CSA shares to send your way, and many more varieties of apples and squash yet to try! I hope you will find a favorite of your own in the coming weeks and pick up extra to store for the coming winter.