There are a few apple trees on our block that are very peculiar – they grow tiny little apples, about an 3/4″ in diameter. I picked one off a tree as we were walking by the other day, and I was surprised at the strong tart flavor. It got me thinking that maybe they would be good for something. I considered pressing them for cider, but that seemed like a lot of work to get enough for any volume. Apple jelly perhaps?
We had some free time this afternoon, so I dragged the kids out to the sidewalk to help me. Which meant that Hannah kept relocating the bucket and Robbie kept climbing up the mini ladder right behind me. I managed to fill their beach bucket about 2/3 full of the tiny apples, and then we came home and decided to make apple sauce.
I cut the blossom end off each apple (supposing it might help them cook more readily) and then added a little bit of water to the pot. They cooked up in about 15 minutes, and then we ran them through the food mill. It was a surprisingly efficient process – the food mill removed the skin and cores, but most of the volume went through with the sauce.
It was super tart, so I added about a cup of sugar. The best part about it was the pretty pink color it came out. There is so much skin on all those little apples, that the red pigment dyes the final product a nice bright hue. Some for the fridge, some for the freezer, and I’ve got my eyes on those other trees of tiny apples.