You may have seen packages of these at your local upscale grocery store for anywhere from $3-$6, but did you know that with just 10 minutes of labor and a food dehydrator, you can make two bags’ worth for a buck? They’re sweet, they’re crunchy, they’ve got no added sugar or preservatives, and you can make them year round. They also keep well for vacuum sealing, and are a great holiday-season hostess gift when packed in a cellophane bag with a nice ribbon. Read on for the secret that makes them so inexpensive.
Before I had a child, I always mentally classified apple sauce as a foolproof kid food. It’s sweet, it’s fruity, it doesn’t require chewing…what isn’t there to like? According to my son, a lot. For whatever reason, he hates apple sauce. Like, will throw a tantrum if I so much as imply that apple sauce might be present within 50 feet of his lunch or dinner plate. I knew this when I purchased a large Grocery Outlet container of apple sauce for the spice ornaments (which are still fragrant on the tree, by the way) and had intended to eat much of it myself, but even I can only eat so much monochromatic, unsweetened apple mush. Thankfully this old family recipe (one of my husband’s childhood favorites, the recipe hand-lettered on an index card by his grandmother) is an easy, inexpensive, KID-APPROVED use for leftover apple sauce.
I know, I know…not only is this not exactly a food post, but I’m advocating getting rid of otherwise perfectly good* spices! In this case, though, two wrongs do make a right, especially if you have kids and are jonesing for a Pinterest-y activity that won’t require trashing the house after a $50 trip to Michael’s Crafts.
(*Yes, spices do go bad, and this is of particular concern to budget shoppers, both because we tend to buy in bulk and thus perhaps not repackage the spices as well as we should [i.e., leaving them in their original baggies…anyone? No? just me?], and because cooking on a budget requires adding more flavor through inexpensive ingredients like spices rather than meat or fat, and older spices = less flavor, especially if they come pre-ground. Always buy your spices whole when possible!)