Tis’ the season for apples, apples and more apples. Growing up I can recall my mom making homemade applesauce every fall. She would make a huge batch and mostly freeze it, though I think some years we did can it. Of course, we would always consume some of the freshly made warm sauce each time, a memory that I will never forget to this day.
As an adult, I have enjoyed carrying on this tradition in my own home. I prefer to simply freeze my homemade applesauce to have on hand during the winter months (of course it often does not last that long.) Canning is a lot of work and really is not necessary if you have freezer space available. I prefer to make my sauce out of local apples from an orchard near to my home that uses Integrative Pest Management methods simply due to affordability. Most often they do not need to use any chemicals and will only use some treatments that are organic in nature.
Organic is always best, but sometimes that is hard to come by. So look for orchards near you and talk to the farmer about how they treat their trees. If you can find apple seconds, you’ll likely get them for a steal. I’ve purchased 1/2 bushels for $6 – which is a great price. I recommend looking for seconds for your homemade applesauce.
Here is the method I like to use to make applesauce in my home.
- 5-10 pounds mixed selection of organic apples (best varieties for applesauce are: Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Winesap, McIntosh, Yellow Delicious, Mutsu, Honeycrisp and Pink Lady) To make larger quantities - 1 bushel of apples (about 42 pounds) will make up to 12-16 quarts of applesauce.
- Large Stockpot
- Food Mill (you can pick up a hand crank food mill for about $20 or even less)
- Wash all your apples.
- Core and quarter them, no need to peel.
- Place all the apples into stockpot over medium-low heat and put the lid on.
- Check after 20 minutes and mash down a bit. If there is enough liquid to coat the bottom of the pan, go ahead and turn it up on high and bring to a boil.
- Mash them down a bit and add 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks.
- Then turn the heat back down to medium-low to simmer until the apples are tender enough and fully cooked.
- This method allows you to avoid using any liquid, retaining a very pure and thick applesauce. If absolutely necessary, you can add some liquid, preferably some fresh apple cider.
- When the apples are fully cooked, mash them well in the stockpot, then add to a food mill placed over a large bowl.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks.
- Puree through the food mill until all the apples are made into wonderful sauce.
- Savor every minute of the delicious aroma!!! Grate some fresh cinnamon and nutmeg over the warm sauce and serve.
A few tools I find that are helping in the applesauce making process are a food mill and an apple slicer/corer. These both save in the time involved and are both pretty affordable additions to your kitchen equipment. Both are used enough over time it’s worth the investment I find. You don’t need anything fancy, just the bare bones basic models of each will suffice.
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