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How I Make Applesauce

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How I Make Applesauce

As far back as I remember my cousins, sisters, and I were helping my grandma and mom make applesauce every year (not too surprising considering I'm from a family of apple farmers). Now that I am a mom, I too have started making applesauce every fall and when I do I inevitably get at least one person asking me how I make my applesauce or what my recipe is.  I finally decided I would just post about it and tell anyone who wants to know.

Disclaimer: I don't use a recipe.  Never have, never will.  Apples are so varied in size, taste, etc. that I would find it harder to make an applesauce that I liked the taste of if I was working within the confines of a recipe.  Instead I will tell you how I make my applesauce and some tips to help you make some for yourself.

Tip #1: get yourself an apple peeler/corer/slicer like the one pictured below if you're going to make a big batch of applesauce.  It's quick, easy to use, and the clean up is a breeze.  With this handy little tool I was able to prep 10 pounds of apples in about 1 hour. 

Tip #2: I like to use Gala apples for my sauce right now.  Galas are so naturally sweet that I don't have to use any sugar in my applesauce for the girls.  I also recommend using a 2-3 different varieties of apples to make sauce with if you want a more complex flavor.  If you're unsure of what varieties to use for making applesauce check out the Michigan Apples website to see what uses are good for any specific variety you enjoy.  For example, Honeycrisp apples are great fresh, but when cooked or baked they don't work as well.

Here's how the apple/peeler/corer works...

You just stick the apple on the prongs...

and start turning the handle to peel, slice and core the apple all at once.

Here you can see where all the slices are.  It resembles an apple 'slinky' once you are done.

Just pull off the apple slices and you're left with the core...

which you then remove from the prongs to start the process all over again.

  There is a giant suction cup on the base to hold the peeler/corer/slicer in place so you don't have to worry about slicing yourself. 

After I remove the peeled apples I cut them in half and check for any remaining pieces of core, pits, or peel.  I then cut out or off any of these remaining unwanted pieces with a paring knife before putting the sliced apples in a pot to cook.

This is an 8 quart pan.  I left about 3 inches of space at the top to keep from spilling over the edges when cooking.  Depending on how many apples you're making up you can use a much smaller pan. When I was in college and didn't have room to store any applesauce long term so I would make up half a dozen apples as sauce at once in a very small pan... you get the idea.

To cook you just add 1-2 inches of water to the pan and start cooking the apples on medium to medium high heat.  As they start to cook you will want to use a potato masher to break the apple slices down and mix the apples around in the pot for even cooking.  If you want very smooth applesauce, I would suggest using a hand blender or food processor on the applesauce once it's done cooking and cooled a bit.

If your water boils away before the apples break down enough to supply the natural apple juices for cooking just add another cup or so of water.  Remember, the more water you add the more you have to boil away before you're finished.  Continue regular mashing and stirring of the apples until they are thoroughly cooked and are to your desired 'chunkiness'. 

 Once it's all done cooking, remove from heat and add any spices (I like cinnamon and ground cloves) to your desired taste.  You can also add any desired sugar at this time to make the applesauce as sweet as you may want it.

My 10 pound bag of apples made up about 1 gallon of cooked applesauce, which I put into plastic containers, labeled and froze.  They'll keep in the freezer for about a year and we will have homemade applesauce until next fall when I start the whole process all over again. :)

If you have any questions, just leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer you or point you in the right direction.

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At September 21, 2010 at 10:20 AM , Anonymous Jamie said...

That looks too complex for my cooking skills. Can you just make me some? ;)

At September 26, 2010 at 7:24 PM , Anonymous Carinn said...

Only you sister...


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