Monday, January 5, 2015

Organic Masala Apple Sauce; Family Recipe Made Anew

: Garam Masala Apple Sauce :

Canning, pickling, and preparing things from scratch was always the norm at home growing up. We were raised in a mostly macrobiotic style household (with the occasional Polish food of course!), and food prep was treated just as important as going to the Doc for a check up. Most meals were approached from a healthful and medicinal perspective, using herbs and spices high in antioxidants and cold fighting ingredients like fresh garlic, sage and raw honey. And now that I really need to keep Celiac in mind when preparing food, I am finding that going back to my Macro roots is making all the difference.

Garam Masala fits this type of food very well, and most of our friends love it, because it utilized many favors that are common in baking, like cardamom and nutmeg, but with hot and savory hints of cumin, coriander, black pepper and clove. And it may sound like a contradiction, but many of these herbs, even the hot ones, are anti-inflammatory!

Apple and fruit sauces of all kinds could and can still be found in my parent's household, and if given permission, I will share Dad's recipe for spicy Cacao, plumb & Ume sauce (VERY medicinal!).

But for now, here is one from Mom, an oldie, but a goodie, with a slight Indian/Eastern twist from her favorite daughter :) Traditional Apple Sauce with a Masala upgrade!


 - 6-7 medium organic apples of choice (I love baking apples, featured in this post because they are not only soft and sweet and cook down well, BUT they also have a tang to them, which translates to a full multi level flavor in your sauce---> and more flavor means I use less sugar.)
*You can also go half sour apples and half sweet apples, or all sweet apples with a squeeze of lemon.

- 1/2 - 1 Cup Local, preservative free Apple Cider

- 1 Tablespoon organic Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice (for Masala Apples, I like the P. Pie spice!)

- 1 Teaspoon organic Garam Masala spice blend

- 1/4 - 1/2 Cup organic brown sugar (raw cane sugar + molasses) OPTIONAL - we use organic brown sugar because the flavor blends very well with this recipe AND organic molasses is full of trace minerals that we are usually deficient of! Think Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, etc.

 I have been drinking Beiersdorfer Orchard Natural Apple Cider for almost 2 decades now, and it is still the best apple cider I can find (and I dearly LOVE apple cider). It is made by a local farm in IN, and is completely just apples, not preservatives, added sugar, nada!

Some Kroger grocery stores carry it in their refrigerated juice section next to produce, otherwise I have no clue where to find it. I actually still get this down in Cincinnati when I visit because our Kroger in Columbus does not carry this brand.

It makes the perfect boiling base for our Masala Apple Sauce, and that is one of the keys to this recipe. But any all natural apple cider will do! And if desperate, apple juice can substitute.


 - Slice your apples thin. Leaving the skin on is optional, and can add a nice texture to your sauce, but I would only do this if you know the apples have not been sprayed. 

- Add all of your slices to a medium sized sauce pan.
I like my 2.5 Quart sauce pan for small batches of sauce.

   - Now you will add 1 - 1.5 Cups of Apple cider to your saucepan, or enough to cover the bottom by 1/2 inch.

 - Bring cider and apples to a boil on high for 5 minutes. Lower heat to Medium and add your Cinnamon and Garam Masala.

- Stir in spices, and cover apples for 10 - 15 minutes on medium heat, while occasionally stirring to prevent burning on the bottom.Your apples will become soft, and start turning into sauce.

- Add in your brown sugar if you so wish, stir completely and recover for another 5 minutes.

You don't need as much sugar if you use apple cider as your base. The natural sugars will help draw out more pectin in your sauce, and it will be thicker and less soupy sauce.

- Take of heat and set aside covered for 5 min.

- By now, depending on the apples you use, your apple sauce should be ready to enjoy!

TIME: About 30 min.    

SERVINGS: About 1 - 1.5 Quarts (I guess it depends on what you consider a serving!)

*Apple Butter - If you like a smoother consistency in your fruit sauce, nix the skins and simmer on low for another 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning your sauce.

 Please look below for extra tips and links for blending Garam Masala if you would like to make your own spice blend from scratch!
If you have a hard time finding a Garam Masala blend, you can make your own, which is both rewarding and safe, since you can control what goes into your blend.
Here are some sources for Garam Masala blend recipes that I think work well:

Veg Recipes of India:

Epicurious :

About Food:

When looking to buy herbs and spices for medicine or for cooking, try your best to keep them organic. Due to recent deregulation, any 'conventional' herbs, spices and teas that are imported to the US are held and fumigated(for pests) and irradiated before being admitted to their US destinations. This means that not only do you have extra chemicals in your spices, but you also wont get nearly the same medicinal benefits if they have been irradiated. Organic herbs are held in pressure chambers for longer periods of time, so that they do not have to use toxic chemicals to ensure their safety