We’re continuing with the cooking adventures here at Casa de Phouka. Today, I looked up a recipe for applesauce on allrecipes.com and got to using up some CSA apples that had been lingering in my refrigerator for far too long. Peanut and Sprout were eager to help: they’re both applesauce fans, and they love to cook.
We got started using the same system as we used for canning ginger-peach jam: I cored and peeled the apples, and the kids cut them up using kid-safe cutting knives and two of my smaller cutting boards. This time, however, I let Peanut get more involved with the intricacies of cooking. We put the six cups of chopped apples in a Dutch oven, then added 3/4 cup of water. I had him bring a step stool over to the cook top so he could reach easier. We then reviewed cooking safety.
I explained to Peanut that the burners get very hot, so he needs to respect the stove. I let him touch a burner that was cold, and showed him that by being slow and careful (things that are a bit foreign to a 5-year-old boy), he could feel the heat coming off the live burner and tell that it was on. I explained that the only part of a pot that is safe to touch is the handles, because the sides would get as hot as the burner, and that we were using a wooden spoon because it wouldn’t get hot, where a metal spoon can super-heat if it’s left in a hot pan.
Peanut smelled the cloves and cinnamon before adding 1/8 teaspoon of each to the Dutch oven, and he stirred the apple mixture as we waited for it to boil. I kept an eye on the stove and had him listen very carefully so he could tell when it first boiled; he noticed the clicking sound that the burner makes as it heats before I did. I showed him how when you stir something that’s just started boiling, it stops for a bit before starting again. We also learned how the bubbling sound gets louder as it goes along.
After the applesauce had boiled for 10 minutes, Peanut added 1/2 cup of sugar. He was a little scared, I think, so combining items on an active cooktop is going to be a skill we’ll keep working on (at some point, he’s going to have to be able to feed himself). After another five minutes, where I attacked the applesauce with a meat tenderizer because it didn’t seem “saucy” enough, we were done. Both kids are looking forward to having applesauce in the morning for breakfast.
This was fun and easy family time that used some fruit that was past its prime. If the kids end up liking the applesauce, we’ll definitely do this one again.
Photo below: Peanut and Sprout cut up apples and measure them in 1-cup sized glass prep bowls.