My first entry on Frugal Days! I’m excited to be sharing here for the first time and hope you will enjoy my debut enough to try it for yourself. A piece of great news: It’s super duper easy and you can adjust it to suit your taste.
In this case I had come across a reference in passing to stewed apples in a book I was reading, Gloria Zachgo’s Never Waste Tears, a post-Civil War story about Kansas homesteaders. This is not unusual for me, that books lead me to recipes, and some even contain recipes as part of their plot line. This one didn’t have instructions but I did find a nice home recipe online.
So stewed apples sounded simply lovely—I envisioned a fire in one corner and a plateful of tender apples waiting on a cold prairie evening. I was lucky on this one because I already had a lot of apples, a bowlful in fact, and though enthusiastic when I’d gotten them, I conceded inwardly that I’d likely grow tired of them if eaten alone.
The hardest part of this dish (and that’s only because it’s a tad tedious) was the peeling of the apples, but I eased the pain a bit by standing at a counter with visual access to a DVD in progress (Law and Order: Criminal Intent—Vincent D’Onofrio, mwah!) Once you do this, though, it’s all downhill from there. By the way, I used 10 apples, a tad more than the seven cups the original recipe calls for, but my apples were smallish, so it was still a good size fit for the amount of ingredients.
For coring and peeling the apples: Peeling them with a potato peeler was kind of a pain (or maybe I’m just lame that way!), so I cut off the top end, cored with the peeler and flipped it over so it would stand up, the bottom being flat. Then I sliced off the bottom (which was now on top) and then using the same sharp knife, cut/peeled the entire apple and cut it up.
At first I cut off more than the skin, but became accustomed to it quite quickly and by the third apple there was less waste. (I ate the extra that I cut off. 😛 )
From here you should have the following ingredients:
- 3-4 tablespoons butter (I used 3)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I used 1/8)
- 1/2 cup water
Melt the butter in a skillet (I use cast iron and lower heat. Note: I use cast iron and highly recommend, but be aware cast iron heats up quite quickly and even the handle could be hot.
Add all ingredients except apples, and stir until it comes to a boil. You’ll see the mixture begin to thicken; at this point add in the apple slices and stir so they’re all covered. Lower the heat and cook for about 5 minutes. Then lower the heat again, cover and allow apples to stew for about 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
You may or may not need to add water as needed and time will depend on how thick or thin your apples are sliced–but do watch in the event they cook quickly. Also, you may want to adjust ingredient amounts to taste–per my taste I used less butter, sugar and nutmeg.
You could eat these by themselves, on pancakes, with ice cream (my favorite: vanilla) or a variety of other ways.