Raw Applesauce Sweetened with Dates
Applesauce always reminds me of the first time I (unintentionally) stole. I was six years old and remember it clear as day.
My dad owned a small store in the local shopping mall and I would enthusiastically spend my weekends pretending to manage to store. Mostly, I was happy because I’d get paid 25 cents an hour (a fortune for a six year-old) for helping my dad with small tasks around the shop which I would then save up and splurge at the arcade located around the corner.
Another one of my favourite shops down the hall was the dollar store. I easily spent hours perusing the shelves. For an entire’s day work I could pick any one or two items from those shelves; the options seemed endless.
My favourite aisle quickly became the food and snack section. Obviously. I loved any/all chocolate and my go-to chips were the Onion Ring chips – remember those? The rule was as follows: the 'junk foods' had to be bought with my own hard-earned cash, otherwise the 'healthier' snacks would be paid for in full by my dad for us both to enjoy. My go to: applesauce. Loved it. Would easily polish an entire 500 mL jar in one sitting.
Dietitian's Intermission: making your own applesauce from scratch takes no more than 5 minutes. The store-bought variety is usually loaded with refined sugar, and most homemade versions call for the same. Sweetening your applesauce naturally with dates adds extra fibre and more depth in flavour.
One day my dad gave me a $5 bill to buy a jar of applesauce from the dollar store. Ecstatic I sauntered to the dollar store, grabbed the applesauce, and returned with a grin and two plastic spoons. When he asked for the change I instinctively held out my arm and to my horror noticed the $5 bill was still in hand. I had walked out without paying.
Tears pouring down my face, my dad calmly encouraged me to simply return to the dollar store clerk and explain I had walked out by mistake without paying. This made the tears fall harder and I vehemently refused. This is how the scene played out in my head: she would have thought I was a thief that got caught and was forced to apologize; they would call security and I would get handcuffed and held captive in a small, white interrogation room; they would tell my mom and I would be grounded for months… no! I wouldn’t do it!
My dad gently took me by the hand, locked the door to his shop and walked with me to the dollar store. He offered to do the talking for me as I cried endlessly and occasionally muttered “I’m sorry” under my breath. The teller kneeled down, gave me a hug, and offered me a candy as a thanks for being so brave and owning up to a mistake I knew I wouldn’t make again.
Moral of the story: don’t ever steal anything but if you do, applesauce is totally worth it. Also: good parenting skills are key. Thanks for the awesome life lesson, dad.
Dietitian's Proposition: You are likely already well aware of the Dirty Dozen List (a list of the top 12-most pesticide-affected foods). Year after year apples have been ranked at the top of this list. If possible, try to purchase organic apples. If yours are not organic, I recommend peeling the skin to remove potential contaminants before blending.
raw Applesauce Sweetened With Dates
▸ ▹ Vegan, raw, gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free
Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 5 min
4 large apples, seeded, cut into large pieces, with or without peel (your preference)
1/4 cup (45 g) dates, pitted
1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 g) ground cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until well combined. Stop to scrape down sides as necessary.
Store in small air-tight containers for up to 3 days as a quick on-the-go snack.