Applesauce

I’d like to come up with a title wittier than “Applesauce” but I noticed that the last few Pressure Cooker posts have said “Easy”. Since I didn’t want to keep saying “Easy XXX” for pressure cooker recipes (even though they are), I thought I’d start with just Applesauce. After all, that’s what this is going to be. This pretty, pretty apple.   I like eating applesauce and  previously I was buying the type that comes in pouches so all you have to do is twist off the cap and stick it in your  mouth and let it hang there until it’s empty. Helpful when you’re busy writing or sketching, juggling pets, or just too damned lazy to use your hands. I’ll let you decide which one I usually am. At any rate, after a trip over to Yakima and an “accidental” purchase of a couple dozen apples that were a good price I realized that it couldn’t be all that hard to make your own. Thankfully, Youtube makes it really easy to prove that correct.

Everyone’s grandmother’s got their own way to make it and ideas of what you should and shouldn’t put in it. Peels, cinnamon, added sugar. LOTS AND LOTS of options. I just wanted easy.  So I found THIS video that wasn’t too long winded, out of focus
AND had easy ingredients. Apples + water.  I was skeptical of the idea of skins, so I peeled mine, set it on the stove and waited the allotted time with happy results. After getting my Instant Pot, I tried to duplicate it there and picked a random apple that I liked to eat and the results? Weren’t as wonderful. I ended up with a soupy mess wondering where I went wrong. The pot spewed during the Quick Release making a sticky mess and once I blitzed the softened apples it wasn’t what I was hoping to see. Still delish but not…. Not the applesauce you’re used to seeing. I tried again recently and found better results. Lesson? Like in pie, the apples you use make a difference. It’s not like cooking with wine where you choose one you’d like to also drink. You could probably experiment on your own, but as I like Galas I think I’ll stick with this recipe.

This time I used Gala apples and was much happier with the results. I started with 8 good sized apples and peeled them down. You don’t have to if you have a good blender, but I got husband to brew me an apple pie beer and he needed the peels for that recipe. I put all these apples in the pot and added 1 cup water and then set it to 7 minutes manual High Pressure. This took 10 minutes to come to pressure and I did a Quick Release immediately. Thankfully everything stayed where it should and only steam came out. I then dumped all the apples into my Vitamix using a large slotted spoon and gave it a quick blitz. When I first started making applesauce I would carefully pour them into these reusable pouches I found on Amazon, but this time I just grabbed some handy jars. 3 half-pints and a Quart Jar later, I’m happy with my results.

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I don’t do a full canning process on these so be aware that if you don’t these aren’t shelf-stable and will only last a short while. If you have young kids though, that shouldn’t make a difference as it will probably be gone long before it can sour and spoil.

 

 

Recipe: 8 Gala apples, 1 cup water

Prep Time: depends on how fast Peter Piper can peel a bunch of apples. Or if he even wants to.
Time to Pressure:10
Cook Time: 7
Release Pressure after: immediately

Time from start to finish:  Approximately 15-20 minutes

 

Side lesson: don’t buy roadside fruits/veggies unless you have a plan for them.

Boiled Eggs made easier

Boiled eggs are probably one of the first things people learn when they learn to cook. One of the easiest and yet still sometimes troublesome.  Cracked shells, eggs that don’t peel cleanly thus looking “ugly”, off-center yolks, too much grey (sulpher) on the yolk, smelly eggs, the list goes on and on.  As you grow older and your cooking repertoire grows, you dissect the process learning different tricks and ways to cook them trying to get “perfect” every time. Or at least I did.

Tricks like adding salt or baking soda to the cooking water.  Specific cooking times followed by ice baths for varying specific times. Oh yes, and then there is the trick of piercing the shell but not the inner lining to create a pocket of air and water between the egg and the shell. Like many, I found some success but never consistent success with any of these methods.

IMG_20151201_195645After I first posted pictres of my first attempt using my pressure cooker to “boil” eggs, people asked why? It wasn’t any quicker to the methods we grew up with. I had to explain, though, that what I found is that I had to monitor my eggs less and also use less water. Oh yeah, and those consistent results I’d been looking for. Not on that first try though. This picture shows you that first try. The bottom squished egg? It was peeled as soon as I pulled it from the pot. (Another plus – being able to handle the egg without tongs sooner)  It was definitely cooked, but the whites were definitely rubbery in consistency. I put the other 5 eggs in that small batch in an ice bath as soon as I could. 5 minutes later, I got that perfect looking one at the top. Both eggs peeled super easy without problems while also having that perfect look we all want for dishes such as deviled eggs. The next batch then showed me that the ice bath wasn’t even necessary, just time to cool a bit more.

 

 

Recipe: 5 Min High Pressure, Steam Setting. Pressure Valve Sealed and released 5 min after Steam Setting finishes. (5-5-5)
Prep Time: Not applicable
Time to Pressure: Approx. 5 Min
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Time from start to finish:  <15 min from the time I sealed the pot.