by Tammy Taylor~
WHEW! I finally finished with all the fresh apples my aunt let us harvest from her tree & bring home. Ten bushels worth! TEN bushels. T-E-N. Wow. I’ve made and canned Apple Pie Filling for quick homemade pies this winter. And I dehydrated some of those delicious apples into crispy Cinnamon/Sugar Apple Chips for snacks. But I love the Slow-Cooker Applesauce the most. I’ve even taken some of the regular applesauce & flavored & canned it into Cinnamon-Vanilla Flavored Applesauce. And of course the liquid released when I cooked down those apples into applesauce wasn’t wasted either. I strained & canned it for apple cider.
All are delicious, but today I was thinking about that applesauce. How versatile it is in my kitchen. Not only do I enjoy eating it straight from the jar, but it replaces a cooking item I typically have to buy.
No One Can Do It All
I’ve been strolling this path toward self sufficiency for several years (um, decades). Now granted I don’t have it all figured out. And I’m certainly not 100% self sufficient. Like most folks, I have cans of purchased veggies in my pantry and even convenience foods too. I like my coffee and pre-made clothing (although I prefer to buy second hand for environmental reasons). I own purchased garden tools and tractors. Furniture & bedding.
I step lightly as possible, but I’m surely not able to live off of just my own labor, y’all… But I’m fond of looking at an item in my cart at the grocery store and wondering if there’s a better way than buying. I’m constantly asking myself “Can I make that myself?”
Lowering My Footprint
These ponderings are rooted in my deep desire to lower my environmental footprint. Sure that jar of applesauce only costs a couple of bucks, but If I can make some of these things myself I’m reducing packaging waste brought into our home and then to the recycling facility or the landfill.
Now my wondering if I can make things myself applies whether we’re talking about applesauce or homemade yogurt. The cost savings (and a healthier product) are awesome, but that’s not my drive. I want to lower my wasteful footprint as much as possible.
Recycling is an important part of being environmentally friendly, but it’s certainly not the answer. For me the answer is PRE-cycling! (ie: don’t bring it home in the first place.)
But what about oil? I suppose I could try to grow and press my own grains into oil but there are only so many hours in a day, ya know? There’s no way I, nor anyone else can do it all. So I buy my oil. But it’s sold in a plastic bottle. Ugh. So I strive to use it judiciously as needed. But what does that have to do with my homemade applesauce you ask?
Applesauce: Multi-Use Delight
Well as you may or may not know, applesauce can replace some of (or in some cases ALL of) the oil called for in your baked goods recipe. Replacing oil with applesauce lowers the fat content of said baked products too. Plus my applesauce is comprised of one and one ingredient only: Apples. So it’s an economic, health and environmental win too! Who wouldn’t love a trifecta win like that??
I’ve been known to replace the oil with applesauce when baking my homemade brownies and cakes. Depending on what you’re baking the texture of the final product could change just a bit when substituting applesauce for oil or butter in the recipe. So sometimes I replace all of the oil with applesauce, other times I replace only half. But pretty much any sweet baked goods I’ve made has had at least a portion of the oil replaced with a healthier option: applesauce.
But no matter how much I substitute one thing is for sure: I’m saving money. And my baked goods have less fat so they’re healthier to enjoy too. SCORE! Why not give it a try next time you’re baking up something sweet?
Start by substituting half and see if there’s much difference at all. Your brownies may be less oily & more cakey but I’ve never noticed much taste difference at all. If that works for you, maybe next time substitute applesauce for all of the oil. Your family may be none the wiser that you’re feeding them healthier snacks. Don’t worry, I won’t tell! Shhhhhhh….
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