Gadget Gift Ideas from the Recipe Redux, An Italian Tomato Press, AND a Recipe for Bubbe’s Applesauce

My mom makes the best brisket in the world. She makes the best latkes. AND, she makes the best applesauce. My boys call my mom’s applesauce, Bubbe Sauce. (Bubbe is a term of endearment for a Jewish grandmother.) Her secret to applesauce success, other than the intuitive cooking that allows her to add a dash of this and a pinch of that with stunning success, is the smooth, lump-free texture. My dad, you see, won’t eat food if it’s lumpy. Yes, my mom is not just a great cook … she’s a saint.

To get the perfect consistency for her applesauce, my mom doesn’t mash nor does she puree. Instead, she runs the cooked apples — peel, seeds, and all — through anΒ Italian Tomato Press that she bought at Williams-Sonoma ($39.95). I too am now the proud new owner of said device.


For this month’s Recipe Redux, nutrition bloggers from across the web are sharing their favorite kitchen gadgets … and recipes to go with them. For the challenge, I chose the Italian Tomato Press, which I’m now calling my Handy-Dandy Applesauce Maker, and a recipe for Bubbie’s Applesauce. I hope the gadget roundup offers inspiration as you shop for last-minute holiday gifts or look to stock your kitchen with tools that bring better health and more nutrient-rich cooking to your family’s table in 2013.

The tomato press/applesauce maker is easy to operate (though I must confess that figuring out how to pull it apart in order to clean it was a bit confusing). Feed it cooked apples, turn the crank, and voila, applesauce. The skin comes out from one part of the machine and the smooth applesauce from another. When my 14-year-old son, Simon, got home from school and saw what I was doing, he stepped right in, refused to let me help, and cranked away. Whatever it takes …

Bubbe’s Applesauce

Makes 8 Servings

Applesauce is versatile. I used three pounds of organic gala apples, and I tossed in some dried cranberries and a cup of strawberries. The next time I make Bubbe’s Applesauce, I pan to use apples, a pear, and maybe even some dried apricots. As for sweetening the sauce, it mayΒ  not need anything, but you could certainly use brown sugar, honey, or agave. Homemade applesauce is nutritious — I’m loving the 5 grams of fiber — and since my boys adore it, it’s an easy way to get more fruit into their diets.

  • 3 pounds gala apples, quartered, stems removed (not peeled or even seeded)
  • 1 cup strawberries, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Brown sugar, optional (add a tablespoon or two if you’re using tart ingredients like fresh cranberries or Granny Smith apples, or add at the end to taste)

1. Place the apples, strawberries, water, cranberries, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a medium Dutch oven or saucepan and stir to combine. Place over medium-high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender, about 45 minutes. (If you want to speed up the cooking time, cut the apples into smaller pieces.) Let cool about 10 minutes.

2. Working in batches, press the cooked fruit mixture through the tomato press. Add the juices too. Run the peel through the press two or three times to press out as much of the fruit as possible. Sweeten with brown sugar to taste.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1/2 cup): 110 calories, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 0g protein, 35% vitamin C

Print Recipe

Here’s a picture of my mom and dad. I took it last year as they celebrated the 50th birthday of their trusty GE refrigerator. Too cute ….

10 responses to “Gadget Gift Ideas from the Recipe Redux, An Italian Tomato Press, AND a Recipe for Bubbe’s Applesauce”

  1. Oh Liz love this post especially your son helping out & that fridge! Lovely to Redux with you and Janice this year.

  2. Susanne Shavelson says:

    Hi Liz,

    This sauce looks great. How do you think this device compares to a food mill? I’ve been thinking about getting one to facilitate applesauce-making, though I’m not sure what else I’d use it for.

    FYI, bubbe is the YIddish word for grandmother.

    • Liz says:

      Oy vey. I’m a ninny. Not sure how it compares to a food mill, though I think that would work out great too. I went w/ this gadget b/c that’s what my mom uses!

  3. Wow… not a gadget I would’ve ever thought was so useful, but you have me convinced!! Love the addition of strawberries πŸ™‚

    So yum! Happy Holidays to you & Bubbie πŸ™‚

  4. Tamara says:

    Love to read about latkes, brisket and applesauce when surrounded by recipes for Christmas cookies, ham, eggnog, etc! For my applesauce I use a simple food mill. I just core and quarter apples, cook them down in unsweetened apple juice, run it through the food mill and add cinnamon. My family loves it!

  5. what a cute picture of your parents. I have never thought of using that tomato press for homemade apple sauce. Thanks for sharing this

  6. I’d say that your Dad is a lucky guy. My husband doesn’t like the peel on apples, so if I do any cooking with apples (crsips, galettes, etc), I have to peel them first. Love your idea of using a tomato press.

  7. Homemade applesauce is the best and I love your addition of strawberries & cranberries. Great photo of your mom and dad-I can’t imagine any of my appliances lasting 50 years these days!

  8. Have to admit, never made applesauce at home. I should, my kids love it and I love the addition of other fruits. I don’t have a tomato press either… this theme makes me want more kitchen stuff πŸ™‚ Nice picture of your parents!

  9. Love the story behind this recipe & gadget! Would have never thought to use a tomato press for applesauce but it totally makes sense. Love the addition of the strawberries. Great photo of your mom & dad!

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