During a chunk of my childhood, my family lived in a house that had once been owned by a botanist. She had planted all sorts of wonderful stuff on the property, including a small apple orchard way at the very back of long, sloping yard. I loved going down there with the dog after school in the fall. The air carried the smell of boozy, decomposing fruit and I felt like a pioneer girl, being able to pick all the apples I wanted.
My mom, driven by the desire not to be wasteful, would pick buckets of apples and make huge batches of applesauce that would get ladled into plastic quart-sized bags and frozen. I learned from her just how easy it is to whip up a pot of applesauce and what a rewarding activity it is. I don't have access to apple trees the way I once did, but I try to go apple picking at least once a fall at one of the local farms in my area. I always turn at least half my bounty into a large batch of applesauce. I save some to make applesauce cake and eat the rest by the bowlful. It tastes like pure fall.
My "recipe" for making applesauce is after the jump. I put recipe in quotations, because making applesauce is so dead-easy that you don't really even need a recipe. You can make a large batch or a small, it all depends on the amount of fruit you have. You can also throw in pears, peaches, apricots, nectarines or plums if you happen to have a few that have been neglected in the bottom of your produce bin.
Peel, core and chop your fruit. The smaller you chop the pieces, the shorter your cooking time will be. Put them in an accommodating pot and pour in about half a cup of water/apple cider/orange juice (it totally depends on your taste and what you have on hand). You don't need to add much liquid, as they will soon start to make their own, but they need a little to get going.
Season with cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and ground ginger to taste. Add a squirt of lemon towards the end if it needs an acerbic kick.
Cook over low heat until the apples soften and are easy to mash between the back of a wooden spoon and the side of the pot. I like my applesauce unsweetened and chunky, so once it has reached the desired softness, I used a potato masher to break up the pieces and then call it a day. If you are looking for something a little smoother, you can use an immersion blender or work it in batches through a food processor or blender. If you need it to be sweeter, go ahead and add a few spoonfuls of sugar. Just remember to go slowly, as you can always add more, but you can't take it away once it's in there.
Filed Under: Ingredients
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