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The Daily Need

How do you like them apples?

Now that health care reform has begun to take effect, I’ve been thinking a lot about medicine as practiced in the United States. It seems like only yesterday an actual candidate for the Republican Senate nomination in Nevada, Sue Lowden, was suggesting a barter system for health care. “Chickens for Check Ups,” critics called it. Actually, pretty much everybody called it that.

She lost. Even in this year of the wacky, that was a bit much.

Personally, I subscribe to preventive medicine, as in, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  (Which, if you think about it, is also a little wacky — it sounds as though an apple is to a doctor what garlic is to a vampire. But maybe I’m being too literal.)

Anyway, about those apples. Apples are the best thing about autumn, other than sending the kids back to school, and there are a million ways to enjoy them. Here is a new recipe I tried this weekend that was so good it started as a side dish at dinner and got a curtain call at dessert time.

Plum Applesauce

(You can mess with amounts but try to keep the proportions the same)


  • 4 apples
  • 3 plums
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar


Cut the fruit into small pieces, leaving the peel on. Add spices and toss fruit gently. In a heavy saucepan, stir sugar into water until dissolved. Add the fruit and simmer, with saucepan covered, about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is very soft. Keep the heat low.

If you want to remove the peels, strain the mixture through a sieve. I think most of the good stuff is in the peel, so I left it in, and it was fine.

Depending how smooth you want it, you can use either an immersion hand blender or food processor (if you’re making it for someone with no teeth or an aversion to chunks of delicious fruit), or just mash it a bit with a potato masher.

You know what to do.

I used a mix of tart and medium tart apples, and sweet red/purple plums. The color was gorgeous. I always try to avoid adding sugar, but this really does need a bit.

No one will stay away, not even the doctor.