Thirty years old, and I still have three of my four wisdom teeth – but not for long! I have a surgery scheduled for next week to get rid of them once and for all. While I’m not looking forward to the procedure itself, I do kind of enjoy that it’s an excuse to eat all my favorite soft foods like ice cream, mashed potatoes, and of course, applesauce.
So why now, at thirty? Well, about a year and a half ago, I had this headache at work, and it just kept getting worse and worse. Throughout the day, I realized that it wasn’t really a headache, but a toothache. One of my wisdom teeth had cracked!
It was the most pain I’ve ever been in on my walk home. And then, I was just curled up in a ball on the couch, calling my mom to ask her what to do. Meanwhile Kevin was looking up emergency dentists. We found one that I could walk to, so I took some painkillers and headed over.
We scheduled emergency surgery for the next morning to take out the tooth. I barely had time to even get stressed about it. I just wanted to be out of pain! When it was all over, I felt so much relief, and got to enjoy some soft foods.
This time, there’s no emergency. But we are planning some upcoming vacations, and I know I don’t want to have to worry if we are somewhere with less reputable dental care. So out they go during my few weeks on downtime this fall.
I have a little more time to prepare, and one of the dishes I’m making for sure is this super smooth and spicy applesauce. It uses a variety of local apples, but you can replace with any you can easily get. I spice it heavy-handed, but feel free to leave out anything you’re not a fan of (like Kevin, who doesn’t like the star anise).
If you would rather a chunkier sauce, I’d suggest peeling the apples before cooking and then mashing with a potato masher or fork. If you like it super smooth, or are having dental surgery, use the method below. In any case, enjoy and let me know how it turns out!
- 3.5 pounds Apples (about 7) a mix of varieties is best, I used local NY apples that were just picked
- 1/4 cup Lemon juice
- 3/4 cup Water
- 1 stick Cinnamon
- 1 piece Star anise optional
- 1 tsp Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to taste
- Cut the apples into one inch chunks and add to slow cooker. Add in the lemon juice and water, drizzling over the apples evenly. Add in the cinnamon stick and star anise if using.
- Cover and set the slow cooker on high for four hours. Stir 2-3 times during cooking, trying to get the apples from the top down to the bottom. Don't worry about mushing them as you stir.
- Once the apples are very soft, remove the cinnamon stick and star anise. Use an immersion blender until smooth and uniform. Add the spices to taste while stirring.
- Transfer to glass jars and cover loosely. Leave them on the counter until they cool significantly (a few hours) and then transfer to the fridge. If freezing, fill the jars only about 2/3 full, and wait until room temperature to put in freezer. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
- You can use more or less apples, just adjust the amount of liquid (lemon juice + water) according, keeping the ratio about the same.
- If you want a chunkier sauce, peel the apples before cooking, and then mash with a potato masher or fork instead of using the immersion blender.
- If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender and work in batches. Be careful blending anything hot!
- If you're not a fan, leave out the star anise. It can be a powerful flavor. You can double the cinnamon instead, or wait until the end and just season to taste.