I love homemade applesauce. It’s a regular dish on our Thanksgiving table and we eat it often throughout the winter. It’s simple to make. The hardest part is peeling the apples. Once I tried it I couldn’t settle for store-bought cans or jars ever again.Embed from Getty Images
1) Start by peeling the apples.
I’ve tried using Granny Smith, Cortland, Ida Red and others. Different apples give different textures and flavors and you can experiment to see which you like best if you are so inclined. I’ve never studied it enough to know which apples are “best.” I use McIntosh which are always available in 3 lb. bags at the market and I’ve been very happy with the result. You can use as many or as few apples as you like. Two 3 lb. bags will be cleaned up by my family of 14 at the Thanksgiving table.
2) Slice the apples into a saucepan and set it on the stove over low heat.
I don’t add water. As the apples heat and begin to simmer they will quickly start to release their own juices. This will prevent the apples from sticking so there’s no reason to dilute the flavor with water.
3) Stir it occasionally as it slowly cooks.
I don’t add cinnamon or spices of any kind. I love the fresh apple flavor so I’ve never seen any need to alter it but if you are a fan of cinnamon and nutmeg, go for it. I do sometimes add a touch of citrus by adding a teaspoon of lemon juice (per each 3 lb. bag of apples) if I have it on hand. But it isn’t necessary and I am just as likely to leave it out.
4) Simmer it 30 – 60 ish minutes or until the apples are soft.
A taste test will tell you when they are done.
5) Add sugar and cook for another 3 minutes. If you prefer, add nothing at all.
I add 2/3 cup of sugar to my 6 lbs. of cooked McIntosh apples. The type and number of apples you use will dictate the amount of sweetener that you need. Stir in your sugar a little at a time and then taste it. Add more if needed and then taste again. Don’t worry. This isn’t an exact science. Even if you choose to go sugar–free it still tastes good (just not as good as with sugar!). When it tastes good to you, pour it in a bowl and serve it warm!
If you like your applesauce smooth you can put it through a food mill but if you don’t have one it’s no big deal. I prefer my applesauce to be chunky and eat it just as it comes out of the pot.
Refrigerate the leftovers for up to 3 days (but it won’t last that long!).
This is a great make-ahead recipe for those big family meals when the stove is tied up with other things. Just take it out of the fridge and put it on the table. If you prefer it warm (and I do!), heat it for a few seconds in the microwave.