Apple picking is almost synonymous with fall in Midwestern America. What’s October without a good trip to the orchard? Alex was lucky enough to bring in a haul of apples from a nearby orchard (or, mom’s neighbor’s apple tree) a few weeks ago.
What to do with pounds of apples? Make applesauce, of course! I grew up making applesauce from the tree in our backyard – we always set aside a day or more to cook down mountains of apples and freeze the sauce for the winter. Maybe because it was such an involved affair, I never though applesauce could be simple.
Trying it on our own made me think again – not only was it easy, if you have the right apples, you need no extra ingredients! (Well, water and salt – but do those count?)
We were surprised to find that the apples we used were so sweet that the sauce was perfect without any added sweetener! It all depends on the type of apple you use, so you can add a bit of honey or sugar at the end to your liking. However, “au natural” was perfect for us (and it tasted nothing like the “natural” brands in the stores)!
Looking for other apple recipes?
- 3 to 4 pounds sweet cooking apples (we used a variety similar to Macintosh)
- ½ to ¾ cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Honey and cinnamon, if desired
- Core the apples and cut them into quarters or smaller pieces (an apple corer works well here). If you’d like applesauce that is not rosy in color, you can peel the apples (it’s also easier to make chunky apple sauce this way; see Step 3). Otherwise, leave on the skin; it’s easier and makes for a beautiful rosy color!
- Place the apple pieces in a large pan with about ½ cup water (for 3 pounds; about ¾ cup for 4 pounds). Add ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat a bit and let cook until the apples are soften, about 30 to 35 minutes. Check the pot every so often, stirring and mashing down the apples.
- When the apples are cooked down, turn off the heat. Then:
- For chunky applesauce, mash down the apples with a potato masher. However, if you left the skins on, you’ll need to remove them; you can do so with a fork, though might is a bit time consuming.
- For smoother applesauce (and to easily remove the skins), pass the applesauce through a food mill or force it through the holes in a colander. (The food mill is the easiest method, but a sieve or colander works just as well, though it takes a bit longer!)
- Taste! Depending on the type of apples, you may not need to add anything more (we didn’t!). If the apples are not sweet enough for your taste, add honey and/or cinnamon.