From family, friends, and my CSA basket, I’ve recently been blessed with an abundance and assortment of apples. They aren’t all pretty, but they are all tasty in their own way. Looking into my crisper, I decided that, even eating an apple a day, these would take a long time for one person to get through. I decided to cook something that would let me enjoy the delicious smell of simmering apples today and be freezable for future use.

Vanilla-Cinnamon-Balsamic Apple Sauce
3/4 cup water
3 tbsp pineapple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8-10 apples (I used a mix of varieties, each have a slightly different taste and texture)

Add water, juice, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and vinegar to a heavy 3-quart pot. Warm over low heat as you peel, core and chop apples into roughly 1-inch chunks. Add apple chunks to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stick and *vanilla bean. Using a **potato masher, smash chunks until they reach desired consistency. Taste. Add salt to taste. Serve or store in the fridge or freezer for later.
*When making recipes in which the vanilla beans are not part of the presentation, I rinse them off, allow them to dry thoroughly, and store them in a container of granulated sugar. The resulting vanilla flavored sugar makes a great stir-in for coffee or tea and a lovely topping for apple pancakes.

**Sure you can use the electric powered gadget of your choice, but the variations in texture make this sauce really appealing. Also, potato mashers are fun.