Homemade Applesauce is SO easy to make. The flavor outshines store bought every time. Take the time to make your family this lovely sauce. They will thank you for it!
September is a busy month for home gardeners. We are chained to our kitchens as produce comes ripe. Cooking, freezing, drying, canning… Whatever the preferred method of preserving we must use our hard won garden treasure or lose it. To everything there is a season. For home gardeners and preservers, this is the season we make like squirrels and stash our winter goodies away.
One delicious crop I have religiously frozen every year, is apples. We love homemade applesauce and apple pie filling in the long dark, winter months. Everything is brighter with a pot of warmed, homemade applesauce next to a pork roast, or stirred into our morning yogurt and granola, over pancakes, and in muffins. Applesauce can also be used as a sweetener in recipes. I’m going to be looking for more recipes using applesauce instead of sugar this winter!
Our little apple orchard has a few good producing trees. Fuji’s for freezing, one Spartan, and one mystery tree; we love to eat those apples fresh. My niece comes over and picks some to make delicious fall apple cider. There are always plenty of apples for horsy and sheep, the freezer, cider and lots and lots of apple crisps and pies. My granddaughters came over yesterday all excited to help me make the first fall batch of applesauce this year.
How to make Homemade Applesauce:
- Start with a load of Fuji apples (or whatever pie apple you have-I do NOT recommend red Delicious)
- Wash, quarter and core them. Chopping and quartering apples can take a lot of time. I use a handy dandy apple corer.
- Leave the apple skins on. After the apples cook we’ll take care of those.
- Put the apple pieces into a large cooking pot on simmer with a couple of inches of water in the bottom of the pot. The trick with applesauce is all in the amount of water you need. Start with a couple of inches and stir the pot every so often to make sure they don’t stick to the pot’s bottom and burn.
- You want the apples to cook down so don’t use a large amount of water. Too much water makes watery loose applesauce. Really dry apples require a lot more water with the apples while they cook to avoid burning. Every year the apples will have a different water content, depending on how dry the growing season is. So you have to eyeball the water level a bit.
Why we use the Food Mill:
- Once the apples are thoroughly cooked and very soft and mushy, it’s time to sieve them. I use an old foley food mill that my grandma Cash gave me eons ago.
We need the food mill to separate the cooked apples from their skins, seeds and cores if your leave them in. (I core my apples because we don’t spray the trees and a few undesirables may find their way into the sauce. Icky!) The food mill also gives the sauce an even texture.
Without the food mill the sauce,(while still delicious) will be lumpy. I have made applesauce without the food mill. It is not so fun to have apple skins wandering around throughout the sauce, in your mouth and teeth. If you don’t have a food mill, follow my affiliate link to Amazon and explore food mills. If that doesn’t suit you, take the time to actually peel the apples before you cook them up.
- The sauce is now cooked and sieved. Give it a quick stir and it’s ready to eat! Optional step (required, if you ask my granddaughters) is to add sugar to taste and spices. I love my applesauce just a bit sweet, with cinnamon.
If your into high applesauce production and need to put some up for the winter; I suggest, freezing your applesauce in one quart Ziploc Freezer bags or use a vacuum sealer. Here’s a page of vacuum sealers on Amazon.
Remember this about Freezing:
When freezing, oxygen is not a good thing. Squeeze the air out of the bag before sealing to keep the applesauce from freezer burning. Follow the freezing link for a quick run through on freezing techniques. A well sealed bag of applesauce will last in your freezer at least three months and probably much longer.
Applesauce will also can well. If your interested in canning and need supplies for that try this affiliate link to canning supplies. Our post on canning salsa give tips and links on home canning if you need help with that.
Enjoy your homemade applesauce!
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