On August 21 I did a post on school lunches to kick off Back to School. It was called Green Up Your School Lunches with Creative Choices. It got to be rather long, so I left out one of my favorite healthy lunchbox side dishes. You can't always have fresh fruit available that will make it through the bumpy bus ride and getting slammed into the locker or cubby. Peaches just aren't good in lunchboxes. Apples, on the other hand, are great. Just for extra insurance, I take a couple of paper towels, squeeze them up a bit and wrap the apple in it for padding; the paper towel becomes a napkin. You can use this tip with bananas also. Despite their thick skin, they need padding to diminish bruising.
As great as apples are for lunches, kids get bored with them. So do adults. So here I will offer a couple of additional ways to get the goodness of fresh, organic apples into your lunch.
Many people I talk to about juicing think that it is a lot of work. It actually only takes a few minutes to juice a bag of apples. The most time-consuming part is cutting them up, so use one of those round cutters that creates 6-8 wedges. You'll be done in a jiffy. Let's start from the beginning.
Homemade Organic Apple Juice
You'll need 1 large bag of apples. I juiced 4 1/2-5 pounds today and got about 40 ounces of juice (yes, this is definitely a special occasion thing; my son from Virginia is in town) and about 24 ounces of sauce. Your results will vary with the type and ripeness of the apples. Baking or eating apples are best, as sweetness is desirable for juice; save the Granny Smith for pies. We like Gala or Red Delicious the best. While you set up the juicer and bowls, containers ,etc., put the apples in a large bowl of water to soak. Dry them as you take them out to cut them up. Remember, there is no need to peel apples for juice, unless you prefer it that way. The juicer does all that work for you; that's one reason it is so fast. I juiced the apples, cooked the sauce and cleaned up in about an hour.
Work with the pulp first, since it tends to discolor if left to sit too long. After you get the sauce cooking, you can deal with the juice. While the sauce cooks and cools, use the finest strainer you have to strain the foam off the apple juice. You can strain it as many times as you like, rinsing the strainer each time. Or you can leave the foam and shake the juice each time you pour a glass. If you plan to send it to school, pour it into the lunchbox drink containers and store it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, put it in a pitcher with a secure lid. This stuff is like gold, so we don't want it absorbing any flavors from the refrigerator, like, say, garlic. Yuck!
Homemade Organic Applesauce
© Carrie Boyko
The pulp should be placed in a microwave-proof bowl; add a teaspoon of organic cinnamon, if you like. Sugar is optional, as well. Other variations are good too, such as raspberries, raisins or small minced chunks of apples. Remember, it is variety we are shooting for here, so change it up a bit each time you make applesauce. Dot the apple pulp with organic butter, just a small slice. Stir this all us and cover. Microwave on high until the apples are soft, then cool. If you juice 3-5 pounds of apples like I did, it will take around 5 minutes. check them after 4 and go from there. Warm apple sauce is wonderful with dinner or as a dessert, but it does heat up well later also.
Now let's store the applesauce. Spoon some of the applesauce into a container for a family meal or dessert. Save this in the refrigerator to eat in the next day or two. If you have some really small containers (3-5 oz.) that you trust in the freezer and in lunchboxes, use these for lunches. If not, an ice cube tray works fine. Once frozen, remove the cubes and store in a suitable larger container. The applesauce will need to go in smaller containers for lunches (probably 2-4 cubes for most kids), so wait till you have a small container that works. Remove the applesauce from the freezer when you are packing lunches and place it in the lunchbox frozen. By lunchtime, it will still be cool. One final tip: Don't forget the spoon.
Clean up is a snap too, as my juicer recommends using the dishwasher, and all the aluminum or glass bowls and funnels also go in the dishwasher. Let me know what you think about your applesauce. I'd love to hear other ideas for creative apple sauce.
One last note. If you prefer, you can always peel the apples first, perhaps using a peeler like the one from Williams-Sonoma. This is a fabulous tool for speeding up the time consuming chore of apple peeling for making pies and such. It takes a whopping 3 seconds per apple to peel one. As for me, though, I like the texture and nutrition that the peel adds to apple sauce. Enjoy it your way!
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!
My "side job" (I'm moonlighting--haha!) is writing organic recipes for Blake Bakes. My second recipe was posted yesterday, and you can find it at Blake Bakes. This post is Toni's Favorite Organic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. As my husband would say, they are the bomb. Hope you can drop in and check it out.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Links to My Guest Postings on Other Blogs
- Greening Up Your Picnic is Easier than Ever
- Saving Gasoline without Walking
- Can You Pick the Eco-friendly Packaging?
- The Only Answer to Cancer: A Book Review
- Salvaging Your Over Ripe Fruit: 8 Ways to Use it Now
- Living Like Ed: A Book Review
- Old Fashioned Organic Brownies
- Ecodater: Green Singles take a Doggie Date
- Ecospheric Blog's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Book Review
- Just Say No to Overloading our Landfills
- Green Family Fun: Let's Visit the Dog Park, Part III
- Green Family Fun: Let's Visit the Dog Park, Part II
- Green Family Fun: Let's Visit the Dog Park, Part I
- Try a Greener Dry Cleaner at Central Florida Green Guide
- Hoover's Essential Health Market--A Hidden Gem
- Benefits of Eating Organic #1
- Benefits of Eating Organic #2
- Benefits of Eating Organic #3
- Benefits of Eating Organic #4
- Benefits of Eating Organic #5