We had a heck of a sail back to Noumea the other day, stronger than expected winds, low cloud, and constant rain cut visibility down to half a mile and made for a pretty bumpy ride. When we hit the grocery store late that afternoon there was a cart full of must-go’s in the produce section. I found a bag of apples on super sale, about $1.50, which is a forth of their regular price. They were a little dinged up but not full of bruises, it was too good to pass up.
Apples are fruit I grew up with. A 50lb clear plastic bag, bought right from the grower on a crisp fall weekend, would stand in the corner of the cool pantry for months. During the first weeks of winter we’d still get crunchy apples in our lunch bags. As the season wore on, and the fruit started to perish, my Mother would turn them into apple pies for Sunday dinners.
But there aren’t that many apple trees in the tropics, and usually what I find at the market is either expensive and small, or expensive and old, or just plain ridiculously expensive. And with all the cool weather and pines trees in New Caledonia I was craving a good apple. It was obvious that these apples were not in good enough shape to just eat but a kilo of apples would make a nice batch of apple sauce.
As I pottered away in the galley Steve suggested that one of the pork loins in the freezer would go great with apple sauce. Sounded like a dinner date, and a hot one at that, we could turn on the oven and heat up the cabin. To make things a little more exciting I tossed a couple of cardamom pods, some star anise and cinnamon stick into the apple sauce that was chugging away on the stove.
I ended up with four half pint jars of slightly sweet and very fragrant apple sauce, a grown up version of what I ate so many years ago. I canned three and hid them away for the next time I have an apple craving. I served the last one with dinner. It married perfectly with the pork loin that Steve seasoned with cumin, and the bottle of Cote de Rhone he bought me.
Life is good.