I’m not a baby, and have a full set of chompers, and so I rarely eat applesauce. It’s not that I don’t like applesauce, but when would I eat it? As an appetizer? A snack? A dessert? There are numerous foods I like better in each of those categories, and so applesauce just doesn’t really fit into my eating habits.
But once a year, during Hanukkah, I wolf down an entire damn jar of applesauce. As I eat latkes to celebrate a single-day’s supply of potatoes feeding an entire army of Jews for eight nights or whatever, I liberally pile on the applesauce. The latke becomes a warm, crispy, tasty vehicle to carry applesauce into my mouth. Sour cream people can go to hell.
So when I bought a jar of Big Slice blueberry pomegranate kettle cooked apples, I knew I couldn’t just eat it straight out of the jar, though I did that too. No, a month after Hanukkah I had to cook up some latkes to eat my blueberry pomegranate kettle cooked apples off of. My Jewish roommate was suitably horrified at my sacrilege—fair enough, just like the beet hummus this stuff is an offensive shade of purple—but it had to be done.
Clockwise, from top: homemade golden delicious apple sauce, blueberry pomegranate kettle cooked apples, plain latke.
“Applesauce” is the best shorthand, but these kettle cooked apples are distinctly different in ways other than just flavor. The apples (and blueberries) aren’t puréed like applesauce, but rather cut up into chunks and bathed in a sauce. And that sauce isn’t just the natural juices of the fruits: there are no pomegranates in the product, just pomegranate juice, as well as “apple and/or white grape juice concentrate.” The consistency is actually quite similar to a jar of marinara sauce with tomato chunks.
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but yeah, it’s kinda good, though not in the way I thought it might be. As a latke topper it is far inferior to the traditional applesauce because of both its flavor and texture. The chunks of apple—some are as big as thinly sliced wedges—are distracting in a way the puréed applesauce isn’t, and the sauce is a little too overpowering. It takes away from the latke rather than complimenting or paring with it.
But if I were the type to just eat applesauce sometimes, I wouldn’t hesitate to eat blueberry pomegranate kettle cooked apples as a snack. On their own I like that the apples retain just a little bit of their crispness, and the flavors work well enough together. They combine into something that more closely resembles apple-grape than apple-pomegranate-blueberry, with an added sweet-tart kick. At the very least, they’d make a pretty good dessert.
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