Making Applesauce…An Autumn Ritual
September 23, 2017
The first time I made applesauce was in nursery school. We went on a field trip to my teacher’s home and we all helped turning the crank of the food mill. Ever since, I remember the delicious results. Baring little resemblance to what you buy at the super market, this spicy, sweet-tart concoction was a revelation.
Loved by children and adults alike, applesauce is comforting, delicious, versatile, and portable. It is a great way to use an assortment of apples, and to keep the flavors of autumn handy in the fridge even after the snow starts. Good at breakfast, lunch, dinner or for a snack, this treat is well worth the extra effort.
Secrets to Success:
Use a variety of apples. I like mixing tart (Granny Smith or Mutsu), sweet (McIntosh, Cortland, ) and spicy (Braeburn, Gala, or Winesap.)
Cut the firmer apple varieties into 1/4"-1/2“thick slices and the softer varieties into ¾”-1” thick pieces so they cook in the same amount of time.
This recipe can be doubled or halved.
Buy a food mill if you don’t own one.
No need to peel the apples. The skin gives the finished sauce a rosy color. (The food mill will remove the skin.)
Choose a medium blade so that the sauce has some texture.
For even chunkier applesauce, peel your apples, and mash the cooked mixture with a fork, breaking up the larger chunks as you go.
Refrigerate for 5-7 days or freeze for up to 3 months, in freezer-safe jars (just remember to leave a little space at the top for expansion.) Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Make this with your children so they will repeat this autumn ritual with their families.
5lbs. apples (see Secrets to Success above for suggested types)
1 cup apple cider or cranberry juice
1 large cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar plus additional, if desired
Wash well, core, and cut the apples into 3/4" slices for softer apples, 1/2" or thinner for firmer apples. (There is no need to peel the apples if you are using a food mill.) Put apples in a pot with the juice. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, until the apples are quite soft. (Covering the pot, yields a slightly-thinner, less concentrated result. You decide whether to cover or not.) Discard the cinnamon stick and put through a food mill set with the medium blade. Stir in 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, mixing well to dissolve. Taste the mixture and add additional sugar, if desired.
When cool, store in the refrigator in a covered container or in the freezer in zip lock or freezer-safe jars or containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Makes 6 cups.