Applesauce is one of the best-known and best-loved Jewish preserves because it is one of the two traditional toppings for potato pancakes or latkes. (The other being sour cream. The arguments over which topping is better can get rather heated.) Latkes are a Jewish deli staple, but are perhaps best known as the traditional dish for the festival of Chanukah, at least among Ashkenazi Jews. In Europe, Ashkenazi Jews often made a version of applesauce that included foraged berries, such as raspberries or blackberries. I have updated that tradition by adding cranberries, that quintessential North American berry, to my applesauce. The cranberries add tartness and a beautiful rosy color. Make this crimson-hued applesauce in October when whole cranberries and heirloom varieties of apples are readily available at farmers’ markets, and put up several jars to accompany your Chanukah latkes in December. You may even convert some sour cream partisans to your side.
- 4 pounds (1.8 kg) apples, preferably a mixture of sweet and tart varieties
- 2 cups (200 g) whole cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- ¼ cup (59 ml) lemon juice
- 1¼ cups (250 g) sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- Peel, core and roughly chop the apples. Combine the apples, cranberries, ½ cup (120 ml) water and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil, turn down the heat to low and simmer the apples, covered, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare a boiling water bath and heat 4 pint-sized (473 ml) jars. When the apples are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the varieties you use, remove from the heat. Mash the apples with a potato masher. For a smoother texture, purée with an immersion blender, but leave some chunkiness. Add the sugar and spices and return mixture to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and distribute the spices. Ladle the sauce into the clean, warm jars leaving ¾ inch (2 cm) of headspace. Bubble the jars well because the sauce is so thick and wipe the rims with a damp cloth. Place the lids on the jars and screw on the rings just until you feel resistance. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Allow to cool in the water for 5 minutes before removing. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
- From The Joys of Jewish Preserving by Emily Paster, © 2017 Quarto Publishing Group. Used by permission from the publisher, Harvard Common Press, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group. QuartoKnows.com. All photographs by Leigh Olson.