Little cups have taken up residence on surfaces around my kitchen. They are of different sizes and shapes, but bear a few striking resemblances: Each cup has plastic wrap tightly fitted on the top, secured with a rubber band saved from my morning newspaper delivery. Each one has little holes pricked in the top with the knifepoint of my favorite paring knife. And each one has a thin layer of a robust, fragrant balsamic vinegar in the bottom.
It seems we’re in fruit fly season, and this is my homegrown solution to ending the little buggers’ reign of terror in my kitchen. They appeared overnight, the tiny, slow-moving flies. And just when I was certain the problem was handled, they reappeared in spades.
So far, the balsamic vinegar cups are working. Mostly. Turns out fruit flies are attracted to this particular vinegar. I tried a delicious red wine, a fruity white wine vinegar and a liquor as well but the balsamic attracted the most by far.
I’ve read that I should also heat together some vinegar and water and pour that down my drains to further eradicate the problem — it seems fruit flies like to reproduce in drains — so I plan to do that soon too. I need to. Because this problem needs to end — yesterday.
Perhaps if we had dirty dishes piled in the sink, rotting fruit on the counter and half-drunk juices hanging out, I would understand why so many fruit flies have taken up residence in our small, lovingly used kitchen. But we’ve worked overtime to keep the dishes clean, we’ve banned the fruit from the counter, banishing it to the fridge and there’s no spare juice to speak of. And from what I’ve heard in some of the groups I am active with on Facebook, I am not alone.
It’s just that time of year, I guess. It’s needs to be not that time of the year now. Seriously.
In the meantime, when I am not waging war on fruit flies, I am enjoying the fruits of this season — as quickly as we can. And among the deliciousness available right now: Apples.
So while I try to avoid writing about the same main ingredient two weeks in a row … sometimes I have to. This is simply what I’m cooking right now.
Applesauce. It’s one of the first things I remember making, when I was barely old enough to stand on chairs at the counter myself. My aunt and I would stir together batches of cinnamon applesauce sweetened with sugar. It was a Sunday tradition, part of a brunch she and I would make for our whole family.
This version of applesauce reminds me of the one we made together when I was young. Tart apples are lightly sweetened with honey, and flavored with bright cinnamon. The smallest touch of salt brings out the apple’s natural flavor.
All of this is mixed together on the stove with water and boiled until the apples break down forming the irresistible sauce. It’s easy and requires almost no hands-on work.
And, bonus: It helps me use my apples quickly at a time when I absolutely need to. So there’s that too.
- 4 cups chopped apples (about 5-6 apples)
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- tiny pinch salt
- Combine the apples, water, honey, cinnamon and a tiny pinch of salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally and pressing on any larger pieces, until the apples break down -- about 20-25 minutes.
- Cool. This can be stored in airtight containers in the fridge for up to five days.