This easy recipe for homemade applesauce is easy, delicious and a great reason for an afternoon of apple picking! Good and good for you.
A few weeks ago we took a drive up to my favorite place on earth, the beautiful state of Vermont. We did all our usual things that we do up there…horseback riding, hiking, taking long luxurious naps with the windows open to let in the sounds of birds chirping and the occasional moo from the neighboring farm. And because it is Vermont where the seasons start to change early, we also got in a little apple picking. And where there is apple picking, there is homemade applesauce, which is one of the easiest things in the world to make, and so sweetly delicious.
We started here, at the beautiful Champlain Orchards.
They have all kinds of apples that come into season one after the other. Since we were apple-picking on the early side of the season, we got to pick some Paula Reds.
We got to the Paula Red section of the orchard and yep! Gorgeous ripe apples as far as the eye could see.
I wisely brought an apple picker with me who not only could reach the tall ones, but was willing to carry the peck-sized bag.
Which is a good thing to have, because a peck is a whole lotta apples. Which is also good, because we needed some for eating the regular way, along with having enough for our applesauce!
So once we got home with our peck of apples, it was time for the applesauce-making. Now, there are two ways to make applesauce…the food mill way, and the non-food mill way. First the non-food mill way, which is how I made applesauce before I had (you guessed it) a food mill. The single hardest part of making applesauce this way is the peeling and coring of the apples. I know, I know, there are those apple-peeling gizmos that you can get that will peel them for you, but in my kitchen it was just me and my paring knife and my Dinner Party Playlist on the Iphone to keep me company. I got into a nice rhythm…quarter the apple, pare out the core, pare off the skin, drop it in a bowl of water. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Repeat.
Once you have your apples all peeled and quartered, drop them into a dutch oven with a cup of apple juice or cider, 1/2 cup of sugar, the juice of one lemon and a cinnamon stick. Stir all that around and bring it to a boil. Now lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer it for about 30 minutes until the apples are soft and falling apart.
At this point you can either just stir your applesauce vigorously with a wooden spoon (if you like it pretty chunky) or you can mash it with a potato masher (if you like it a little smoother).
Now the food mill way. Quarter the apples, either with a apple slicer or just a knife, and drop them into your pot, skin, seeds and all. Cook them with the apple juice and lemon and sugar and cinnamon until they are mushy. Now set your food mill over a bowl, ladle the apples into the food mill and turn the handle – the mill will strain out the skins and the seeds and the applesauce will come out of the bottom. Once I went the food mill method I never went back.
One way or the other, let your applesauce cool a little and try the first dish while it is still a little warm. You’ll be so happy!
Now sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar. You’ll be even happier!
Your applesauce will last a week or so in the fridge…that is, if it doesn’t get all eaten up in the first hour or so after you make it. Homemade applesauce is just THAT good. Give it a try – it’s apple season!Print
- 3–4 pounds apples
- 1 cup apple juice or cider
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Juice from one lemon
- One cinnamon stick
- Cinnamon sugar for garnish (optional)
- Quarter, core and peel apples, dropping the peeled quarters into a bowl of water as you go to prevent too much discoloration. (If you are making applesauce with a food mill, simply quarter the apples – no need to peel them!)
- When all apples are peeled, drain and place in a large Dutch oven with apple juice, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon stick. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes until apples are tender and falling apart. If you have peeled the apples, mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. If you are using a food mill, set it over a bowl, ladle the cooked apples into the mill and grind the apples into sauce – the mill will catch all the seeds and peels.
- Let it cool a little and serve, garnished with cinnamon sugar if you like!
You can leave the sugar out for a slightly tarter, unsweetened version!
Recipe has been updated from an earlier Framed Cooks post