How to convert a recipe to be diabetic friendly (plus a carrot muffin recipe)

If you follow a plant-based diet, you have probably heard of the term “veganise.” It means converting a conventional recipe into a vegan one. For example, if a recipe calls for an egg, you omit the egg and use flax meal or chia seeds instead.

If you are diabetic and follow a plant-based diet, the conversion becomes a bit more complicated two-step process. One: veganise it. Two: make the recipe more diabetic friendly (I’ve been looking for a snappy term for this process – but sadly can’t find one yet. “Diabetise”?

Of course, you can start with a vegan recipe to begin with, and make it just a one-step process of “diabetising” it – and there are plenty of amazing vegan recipes available these days.

So how do you make a recipe more diabetic friendly, you ask? Here’s what I do when making sweet treats.

(1) reduce the amount of sugar – sometimes a recipe calls for a ridiculous amount of sugar, I can halve the amount and it still tastes sweet enough to me. I normally start with less sugar, and taste the mixture as I make it. If I want more sweetness, I gradually add more sugar until I’m happy.

Keep in mind that baked sweets taste less sweet than uncooked dough or batter. In other words, when tasting unbaked batter/dough, make it a little sweeter than you’d like.

(2) replace refined sugar with low-GI, low-carbohydrate sugar, like maple syrup, coconut sugar, or sometimes, even fake sugar (though too much of that might upset your tummy).

(3) replace plain flour with low GI, low-carbohydrate flour, such as besan flour, almond meal, peanut flour, buckwheat flour, rye flour, and wholemeal wheat flour. These flours are generally interchangeable with plain flour. I stay away from coconut flour and flax meal, because they are not interchangeable with regular flour – and requires significant modifications elsewhere in the recipe.

(4) use more nuts and seeds, and less dried fruit. Or omit dried fruit.

(5) use more vegetables, rather than fruit or other high-carbohydrate ingredients.

(6) replace oil or fat with apple sauce, mushed banana, pumpkin puree, or vegan yoghurt.

Sometimes I do all these things for one recipe, and sometimes I only do one or two modifications. Sometimes the result is just delicious! Sometimes I go too far into the “healthy” realm and my family and friends reject the modified creations (for not being rich or sweet enough, or for having the wrong kind of texture) – in which case will have to polish them off all by myself in order to avoid wastage. How tragic! Very rarely do stuff go in the compost bin though. I think it happened only once or twice.

Yes there is a bit of guesswork involved when making these modifications, but with trial and error and an adventurous spirit, you’ll soon get a hang of it. Just remember, it’s okay to fail sometimes! I fail all the time actually, but even failures can be quite tasty.

Carrot muffins (diabetic friendly)

Take these carrot muffins, for example. The original recipe is from a book called “Vegans with a Vengeance” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. It’s a fantastic book on vegan cooking, but the recipes do often call for plenty of sugar, oil, and high-carbohydrate ingredients – things that wave red flags for diabetics.

Even though this particular recipe was pretty healthy to begin with, I still made a few modifications.

(1) I swapped the plain flour with a mixture of gluten free, lower-GI flours. I used a combination of buckwheat, brown rice flour, and oat flour (make sure you use gluten-free oat flour – not all oat flour is gluten free, apparently).

(2) Because the gluten-free flours tend to make muffins more crumbly, I added a tablespoon of flax meal to give more binding power.

(3) Instead of canola oil, I used apple sauce.

(4) Instead of regular sugar, I used coconut sugar.

(5) To add more kiddy appeal to the otherwise very brown, plain, and hippy-looking muffins, I decorated the muffin tops with blueberries, bananas and walnuts.

And the result? Very tasty muffins! Not too sweet, but just sweet enough for breakfast or for school lunch box. They also have a perfect structure – neither crumbly nor mushy. My kids gobbled them up, with a bit of vegan butter on top.

diabetic friendly carrot muffins

Here’s my modified, more diabetic-friendly carrot muffins. You can of course play with it anyway you like! You don’t have apple sauce? Try mushed banana or coconut yoghurt. Don’t have carrots? Use grated zucchini or sweet potato instead. Omit the raisins and use nuts and seeds instead (if I were making these muffins just for me, I would have omitted the raisins – but I made these mostly for my kids, so I left them in). Add more spices like vanilla, cloves, or orange zest. Have fun and remember, it’s okay to fail!

Carrot muffins (diabetic friendly)

 

Carrot muffins (diabetic friendly)
Carrot muffins (diabetic friendly)

Carrot Muffins (Gluten Free and Diabetic Friendly)

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October 21, 2016

This recipe is adapted from a carrot breakfast muffin recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, from her Vegan with a Vengeance book.

  • Yields: 12 muffins

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour mixture (I used brown rice flour, oat flour, and buckwheat flour, in equal amounts) - if using oat flour, and if gluten-free is important to you, please make sure you are using gluten-free kind of oat flour!

1 tbsp flax meal

1/4 cup coconut sugar (or fake sugar, if you prefer)

2 cups finely grated carrots (about 2 and a half smallish carrots)

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1/4 cup apple sauce

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 cup blueberries, chopped bananas, or other fruit or nuts for topping

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup oat milk, soy milk, or nut milk of your choice (I used homemade oat milk)

Directions

1Preheat your oven to about 200 degree Celsius (400 Fahrenheit).

2Soak the raisins (if using) in hot water to plump them up - for about 10 minutes. Then drain.

3Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl - flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices, flax meal, salt, and sugar.

4Add grated carrots and raisins to the dry mixture and mix them with a spatula.

5Pour apple sauce and non-dairy milk into the flour/carrot mixture, and mix well with a spatula. The dough shouldn't be too dry or too wet - the batter should gently drip off your spatula. Add a bit more milk if it's too dry. Add a bit more flour if it's too wet.

6Prepare your muffin moulds. You can either use a non-stick mould and brush or spray it with oil, or use store-bought paper muffin liners, or just cut up little squares of baking paper and line the moulds with them (like I did in the photos).

7Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. You can gently press the top of the muffins with your hands, and if it feels firm and springy, they are baked. Or you can insert a bamboo stick into the muffins, and if it comes out clean, it's baked. Take the muffins out of the oven and let them cool for a bit before devouring them.

Instead of carrots, grated sweet potatoes is tasty, too (though slightly higher in carbohydrate).

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Holiday survival guide for diabetics

On the last weekend of Spring holidays, we drove on a whim to Canberra for a two-night mini holiday. I haven’t been on a holiday for a while, so I was super excited! But even for a little trip like this, your diabetic head spins around with a few little worries. Such as, will I be able to stay on a healthy diet for entire time? Will I be tempted to eat junky holiday food and treats that my kids might no doubt demand? What about exercise?

The first day was easy. My mother (who was visiting for the school holidays) and I woke up early and made a healthy lunch and dinner for that day – vegetable sticks, roasted capsicum and chickpea hummus, Japanese rice balls, cooked green lentils, cut fruit, and a big container of salad greens. I had also made some wholemeal bread and healthy treats. We packed everything in a cooler bag and off we went.
floriade 2016 canberra

Canberra was wonderful. We visited the beautiful annual Floriade flower festival.

national gallery australia

We visited the National Museum.

old trailer at national museum

This old wagon / camper trailer was my favourite thing at the National museum – I mean, wouldn’t you like to travel in one of these around Australia?

Then – we ran out of all the healthy food we brought. Oh no… Ignoring all the cafes / restaurants / street food vendors, we hit a local supermarket instead.

What an amazing selection of ready-to-eat healthy food I found there! It was an eye-opening experience re-discovering good old supermarkets. Just look at the huge selection of pre-cooked rice and grains alone.

supermarket rice selection

Instead of soaking rice overnight and cooking in a pressure cooker (which is what I do every day), these packets of rice and grains are ready to eat in less than 2 minutes (in a microwave or stovetop). And it’s not just white rice. Brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, chia seed, in all sorts of combinations. Wow. Honestly, I never knew.

I also “discovered” a myriad vegan tofu products – some looking healthier (less processed) than others. Then of course there is the fresh produce section. I narrowed my choices to these.

holiday supermarket food

Thanks to the local supermarket, my healthy dinner was ready in minutes.

holiday food

Of course, it helped a great deal that we stayed in a cabin accommodation, with a fully equipped kitchen.

canberra cabin

Things would have been a bit more difficult had we stayed in a motel or hotel.

Canberra street food

So even though there was a few moments like this when I had to resist a bit of holiday temptation… it was good overall foodwise.

Oh, and exercise? Well, that was sorted as well – accidentally.

canbera wagon ride

See that four-seater wagon bike? I thought riding that cute little vehicle around the lake was a leisurely experience. Wrong! It turned out to be such hard work… Pedalling this monster of a wagon for nearly two hours was the most excruciating torture – I mean exercise – ever!

Matcha Latte (Coffee Alternative Part 1)

I love coffee. If I’m not careful I can easily drink 5 or 6 cups of coffee per day. And let me confess that I actually did drink that much coffee before, even in the middle of the night. Bad girl, I know! Here’s my beloved Breville espresso machine (next to my beloved high-speed Optimum blender).

coffee machine

I thought I had a good reason for being a coffee addict though. Which was this: when you are trying to follow a restrictive diabetic diet in which you can’t have anything fun in life, like sugar, oil, bread, processed food, potatoes, white flour, white rice, animal products, alcohol, cheese, butter, and other dairy – something has to give. And that something was coffee (I mean, aside from dark chocolate and nut butter…). And what could be more innocent than coffee, as far as addiction is concerned?

Now I’m trying a little harder to restrict my coffee intake though – to a more reasonable two cups a day. Enter the wonderful world of coffee alternatives! I’m discovering quite a few satisfying coffee alternatives. Matcha latte is my favourite at the moment.

Matcha is the very best of green tea. It is bright green powder made from the most precious part of green tea leaves. It is good for you, being full of antioxidants and other health benefits compared to regular green tea.

matcha

It is also super expensive. We are not talking about cheap versions used to colour ice cream green – the real matcha costs hundreds of dollars per kilo.  One online source in Japan sells them at $750/kilo, and that’s just medium grade matcha! You can find it in Australia at Japanese grocery shops or online.

matcha

Traditionally in Japan, we didn’t drink matcha tea on a regular basis. It was reserved for special occasions like tea ceremonies.

Nowadays, matcha is widely available, at so many different price levels, and anyone can enjoy a casual cup of matcha tea. And matcha is suddenly super popular through the world.

Anyway, back to matcha latte. It’s pretty simple to make. I use about 1/3 cup hot water, 2/3 cup milk (I use soy milk or almond milk), 1 scant teaspoon of matcha powder, and 1 heaping teaspoon of fake sugar. It’s delicate, fragrant, delicious, and soothing. Sometimes it tastes even better than coffee. Give it a try!

matcha latte

(1) Mix matcha in a little bit of hot water well, until there are no lumps. This is the most important part. I don’t own a chasen (traditional Japanese bamboo whisk we use to make matcha tea), but any small whisk is better than a spoon here. Add more hot water if you like.

milk frother for matcha latte

(2) heat up your soy or almond milk, and froth it with a milk froth whisk thingy if you like.

matcha latte

(3) Pour the frothy milk goodness into the matcha / hot water mix, add sugar, and enjoy!

Oh, if you buy good quality matcha, you should store it tightly wrapped in the freezer. Otherwise it’ll lose its delicate flavour quickly.

Pickles

I wouldn’t have thought of making pickles in the first place – if not for a friendly farmers market vendor from Bilpin who sells home-grown veggies at a local market. One day, she had a whole array or just-dug-up, earth-covered baby root veggies: turnips, baby carrots, and black radishes.

What I can possibly do with these, I asked. “Well, you can pickle them,” she said. How interesting! I’m always game to make something I haven’t tried before. So I bought the whole lot of those dirt-covered babies to take back home.

Apparently pickles are easier to make than jam or other preserves, because bacteria hates vinegar. So all you need is vinegar, water, some salt and spices for the brine. The jars can happily live on a kitchen counter or pantry, even without proper canning. Best of all, they are ready to eat in a couple of days.

baby root vegetables pickles

 

Here’s my first attempt. I used 100% apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, a small amount of salt, and bay leaves. I didn’t even cook the baby vegetables. How cute are these? A day later, they sort of softened in the vinegar, and were a little less crunchy. Delicious, yes, but sour!

baby root vegetables pickles

A few days later, by chance, my son “discovered” these hidden carrots growing in our backyard. The previous residents must have planted them and left them for us to eat. And I thought they were weeds!

backyard carrots

How funny are all these odd-shaped carrots?

backyard carrots

Have you ever eaten carrots straight from the garden? They are incredible. Nothing like store-bought ones, putting those packaged “organic” ones from the supermarket to shame.

After munching on a few straight away, I made more pickles with the remainder, with a bit of turnips mixed in for colour variation.

backyard carrots pickles

So pretty! This time I used 50% water and 50% apple cider vinegar (with mustard seeds and bay leaves). They were not vinegary enough though…. I think 75% vinegar and 25% water might be more to my liking. I think I might be getting hooked on home preserving.

 

Springtime Smoothie – with Pineapple, Greens, Mint and Lemon

Yay, Spring has come to the Blue Mountains.  Winter was fun and games, too, what with scraping frozen car windshield in the morning, or scavenging for twigs and tree branches in the bush to light my slow-combustion stove. But after months of it, I’m ready for Spring.

And just like that, with the warm rays of sun smiling on me in the morning, I am in the mood for green smoothies again.

Fresh greens from the garden

What happiness is it to harvest fresh greens from your backyard in the morning! Here’s kale, silver beet, Vietnamese mint, and celery – full of juicy goodness.

Here’s my favourite springtime smoothie recipe I’ve been enjoying for the last couple of days. It’s so refreshing, and still pretty low in sugar. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

The recipe makes about 3 cups of the green goodness – which might be enough for two people. But this morning I drank all of it in one go. It was that delicious. So what I’m saying is, you might want to make a double batch for two people.

PS. To crush ice and kale into oblivion, you’ll need a fairly powerful blender. I love my new (well, second-hand new) Optimum 9400 blender. I also have a Nutri Ninja, which works really well for smoothies.

Springtime Smoothie
Springtime Smoothie

Springtime Smoothie

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September 15, 2016

The ingredients are of course flexible. The key elements for the "freshness" of the smoothie are: pineapple, greens, lemon/lime, mint, and ginger. A bit of kombucha or coconut water will add a bit more subtle sweetness and freshness, too. Feel free to experiment with other ingredients though.

  • Yields: about 3 cups - enough for 1 to 2 people

Ingredients

1 cup water

0/1 cup kombucha or coconut water

1/2 peeled lemon or lime, but with the membranes intact.

1/2 cup pineapple, peeled but with the core

1 cup green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and lettuce

1 stalk of celery

1 small handful of mint (I used Vietnamese mint)

1 cm piece of ginger

1 cm piece of tumeric

1 tbsp chia seed or ground flax seed

1/2 cup ice cubes

Directions

1Gather up all the ingredients, and put them in a blender jug.

spring smoothie ingredients

2Blend everything together at high speed for about 1 minute, or until all smooth. That's it!

smoothie in blender

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Nut Butter Addiction

Like most people with type 2 diabetes, I’ve been avoiding sugar since my diagnosis. It’s been very hard, I tell you – I was a pastry chef and all. I used to wake up in the morning and munch on chocolate. Then go on to bake all kinds of sugary goodness and consume a whole lot of it. Ah how I miss those happy days.

Well, those golden days may be over (at least I had good 43 years, I tell myself), but I continue to have cravings for (slightly healthier) sweet things – like sweetened soy milk coffee, bananas, and nut butter. Homemade nut butter, that is. With roasted nuts, and a good dash of vanilla in it, processed till it’s super runny. It tastes amazing, like a pot of gold.

This nut butter is so good, it has become kind of an addiction for me. Whenever I feel my stress level rising, like when my kids start fighting, I grab a spoon and go for it. Or when I need to be sewing at home, but don’t feel like it, I wander into the kitchen and eat a big spoonful, or two, or three. Or when it’s late at night and I’m feeling hungry again, I eat it straight from the jar again. Wouldn’t you call this an addiction?

Maybe it’s because there is no sugar in it, technically, that I feel impunity to eat lots of it. But as healthy as nuts are, they are loaded with fat, so no one recommends eating unlimited amounts of it.

I won’t reinvent the wheels by writing a recipe here, because there are so many good recipes on the internet. This raw almond butter recipe is how I made it the first time. If you google “homemade nut butter”  – you’ll find hundreds of good recipes.

The kind of nut butter I like to make now use: (1) roasted nuts – not just lightly roasted, mind you, roasted and until the nuts breaks easily in your mouth and gives you an amazing aroma and flavour (about 10 minutes in a 200 degree oven), (2) mix of almonds and cashew, and sometimes walnuts and brazil nuts, and (3) a spoonful of vanilla powder. All processed in my beloved, 12-year-old Kitchenaid food professor until super ruuny.

Here’s how it begins. Roasted nuts.

roasted mixed nuts for nut butter

Then everything goes into the food processor. Just turn it on and watch the magic happen. In my processor it takes about 5-8 minutes.

nut butter in food processor

nut butter in food processor

First it becomes a coarse meal.

nut butter in food processor

Then it becomes more sticky.

nut butter in food processor

Nearly ready but not yet!

nut butter in food processor

Then finally super runny and creamy nut butter. Mmm it smells so good.

runny nut butter in a jar

Pour in a jar and enjoy.

Why homemade, you ask? Well it is cheaper. For a small jar of it, you can make it yourself for about $5. A store-bought one costs nearly $10. But most of all, homemade one tastes far superior. So much more fragrant, sweet, and just tasty. Try and see for yourself, but I have to warn you, you might develop a dangerous addiction to it as well – whether or not you are diabetic!

 

 

 

Pumpkin Soup Bread

One of the first bad news I learned after my diagnosis was that bread is bad for you if you have diabetes. I loved bread – baking and eating – so this was devastating news. I vividly remember the first endocrinologist I saw bluntly telling me: “they say wholemeal bread is better for you, but bread is bread, and they are all bad.” I might have imagined her sporting devil’s horns on her head at that moment.

After dutifully avoiding bread (along with other carbohyrdrate-rich food, like rice and pasta) for nearly two years though, I came to doubt my carb-avoiding regime. I’ll do another blog post later, but I began to read books on naturally healing type 2 diabetes, not by avoiding all carbohydrates, but by consuming good carbs – wholegrain, low-GI carbs – as part of your daily diet. Here’s one such person who advocates this diet. Here’s another. Many Japanese books on natural healing advocates eating brown rice every day as well.

So I began to eat bread as an occasional treat these days. I still won’t touch white bread, but homemade sourdough bread, featuring low-GI whole grains like spelt and rye seem okay to me. I use homemade sourdough starter for my bread (I used the method in this wonderful book), so it takes 24 hours or more to make one loaf of bread – but oh they are so worth it.

One of the best things about making your own bread (whether you use sourdough starter or not) is that you can incorporate a lot of different things in it – nuts, seeds, almond or soy pulp from making almond/soy milk, veggie pulp from juicing, etc. And it’s super cheap to make. Forget that $10 loaf of sourdough bread from artisan bakeries (as good as they are). I buy my organic flours in bulk here.

Last night I had a big jug of leftover pumpkin soup that my kids refused to eat for dinner (so heartbreaking. It was such lovely soup…). What do I do with it? I’m not a big fan of sweet soups, either…. And then I had a lightbulb moment: make bread with it of course!

leftover pumpkin soup

I used pumpkin soup in lieu of water when mixing up the bread dough. It worked beautifully. The bread was moist and subtly sweet, but not overwhelmingly pumpkiny. In fact you won’t even know there’s pumpkin in it. With all the brown flour I used, you can’t even see the pumpkin yellow colour. Oh how I’m happy I didn’t waste all that soup!

pumpkin bread with soup

Heres’ my indulgent breakfast this morning. Fresh-baked toast – with green smoothie. Yum.

pumpkin bread for breakfast

Here’s the recipe for you if you’d like to give it a try. The measurements are not precise, so you can play around with it. If you don’t have a sourdough starter, no problem. Just go without and use the rest of the ingredients. If you don’t have a stand mixer, no problem as well, just use a big bowl and mix everything and knead with your hands. A bit more messy, but not hard at all.

pumpkin bread with soup
pumpkin bread with soup

Pumpkin Soup Bread (Vegan, Low GI, Oil-Free)

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September 14, 2016

  • Yields: One loaf

Ingredients

3/4 cup sourdough starter (optional)

2 cup wholemeal spelt flour

2 cup wholemeal rye flour

1 tsp instant yeast

1-2 cup pumpkin (or other) soup

some water, to adjust consistecy

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp chopped rosemary (optional)

1 handful of pepitas (optional)

Directions

1Mix all the dry ingredients together in a stand mixer bowl.

2Turn the mixer on at low speed. Add about 1 cup of pumpkin soup, and then Gradually add more liquid (more soup, or if run out, use water) until you get a fairly wet dough. The dough should stick to your hands if you touch it. But don't get too fussed about it! As long as all the dry stuff is wet, and the dough isn't all gathered around the dough hook, it'll work fine.

3Keep mixing for about 5 minutes. Rye flour doesn't have much gluten, so it's not important to knead it for a long time.

4Remove the dough hook, and use your wet hand to smooth out the dough. Cover the bowl with a saucepan lid or wet towel. Leave it on your kitchen counter for 12-24 hours - until the dough doubles in size, approximately.

5Line a loaf pan with parchment paper - this way it'll be easy to get the bread out when it's baked.

6Sprinkle a good 1/2 cup of flour onto your kitchen counter, and tip the soft, risen dough onto it gently. You don't want to "punch" the dough down!

7Cut the dough in three equal portions. Using flour on your hands so the dough won't stick, *gently* shape each portion into a rough ball. Resist the urge to mix in more flour into the dough. Soft dough makes tasty bread. Squeeze those dough balls into the lined loaf pan, cover with a wet tea towel, and leave it to proof on your kitchen counter for 1-3 hours, until it puffs up.

8Preheat the oven at about 200 degree Celsius. It takes about 15 minutes for an oven to heat up.

9Brush to top of the bread with a bit of milk or oil, and sprinkle some pepitas on top if you like.

10Once the oven is hot, and your bread dough looks puffed and ready, gently put it in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, and when the top of the bread looks golden, take it out.

11Gently take the bread out of the loaf pan. Remove the parchment paper, and check the bottom of the loaf. If it looks crisp, brown, and sounds hollow when tapped, it's done. But if not, put it on a baking tray (no need to put it back into the loaf pan), and bake for another 10-15 minutes. It's hard to be precise because every oven is different. When the bottom of the bread is crisp, your bread is ready.

12Leave the loaf to cool on a wired wrack for about an hour before slicing and eating (I know it's hard).

This recipe is very flexible, so please don't be afraid to experiment! If you have only a bit of pumpkin soup left, that's not a problem. Use water for the rest of the liquid content. I had a LOT of soup left over, so I used pretty much all-soup for the liquid bit. Homemade bread is very forgiving, so it's hard to get it to fail!

The only thing that's important here is: (1) use whole grains, and (2) use only a small amount of yeast, and let it ferment slowly for 24 hours or so. Wholemeal flours need that kind of time to open up in flavour and develop. It'll be easier to digest and better for your sugar level (which is my understanding). In hot summer, you might want to put the dough in your fridge overnight and let it ferment in there, instead of a kitchen counter.

Oh one more things: This bread is vegan only because the pumpkin soup I used is vegan. If you used non-vegan ingredients in your soup, naturally the bread isn't vegan.

 

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Homemade Apple Sauce – Continued

Well the second batch turned out much better! Now I have figured out how to use the Kitchenaid mixer strainer, it went without much mess at all.

And I love the extra spices. Forget about using the sauce as an oil substitute in cooking – you can just eat it straight from the jar with a big spoon and it is so.beautifully.sweet I can’t believe there is not a grain of sugar in it.

 

apple sauce in instant pot

I used my Instant Pot again for “steaming” the jars for (hopefully) proper preservation – so these babies can live in my pantry for a while, not in my fridge.

 

apple sauce in jars with labels

Ta-da! Nothing like a personal, final touch of labels. I love Photoshop, too. On to my next kitchen project…

 

Homemade Apple Sauce

Today I’m making apple sauce. Why? First, I have way so many apples in my fridge. I buy a box of organic box of fruit and veggies from a local farm, and every week there are apples in it. They are beautiful, crips apples that are heavenly to eat on their own – which I totally would if I weren’t diabetic. But since I’m limiting myself to about three pieces of fruit a day – and my kids can’t eat so many, either – apple sauce it is to preserve the fresh apple goodness. And to make more room in my fridge.

homemade apple sauce

Second, apple sauce is really handy to have if you like to bake. Did you know you can use apple sauce in lieu of fat, yogurt, or sugar in baking recipes? Yes you can. It helps with my minimum oil / sugar / diet well. Apple power is mighty.

Third, and most importantly, it’s fun! I am into a bit of canning and preserve-making spree at the moment – I have recently made batches of pickles, pumpkin jam, coriander pesto…. all from surplus veggies that end up in my kitchen somehow. I love it.

Today I decided to cook the apples in my beloved Instant Pot pressure cooker. I just cut the apples in half with seeds, core and skin still on. They are organic apples after all. I also put maybe 3/4 cup of water in it, along with 11 apples, a stick of cinnamon, a few anise, half a lemon, and cloves. I guessed about 5 minutes of pressure cooking time. Apples were cooked but not yet mushy.

I used my stick blender to mush it up a bit – so that the apple puree will go through a strainer better.

For straining, I thought I’d give my Kitchenaid strainer attachment a try – probably for the first time ever since buying it more than 10 years ago. And really, what’s the point of owning a strainer attachment if I won’t use it for apple sauce? I had no idea how to assemble it, but thank goodness there is Youtube for everything.

making apple sauce with kitchenaid mixer

What a messy work! It worked in the end though – sort of.

homemade applesauce

I ended up with these two little jars of pretty pinkish apple sauce – from 11 apples. Hmm. It’s not much, is it? I still have 10 more apples left, so I might make another batch right now. Next time I’m adding a bit more spice to the mix, because this batch was pretty mild. Here we go again!

apples in quarters with spices