Making homemade applesauce is easy, you control what goes into it (i.e. little or NO sweetener!!!), and it tastes so much better than the jarred stuff you buy. Honest. 🙂
So, here’s the detailed version of what I did:
(scroll down near the end for a much shorter, summary version)
I bought two 3-lb. bags of apples. Organic. One bag of Red Delicious and one of Yellow Delicious. You can use any type of apples (sweet ones preferred), and a mix is best.
I googled homemade applesauce. I’ve made it before, but I always like to read what other people are doing and combine a few different ideas to come up with my own version. The most helpful site I found was Pick Your Own.Org’s “How to Make Homemade Applesauce.” So for full directions, including how to can your applesauce, please check out their very detailed and picture heavy site. 🙂
I decided to make my applesauce with skins on. This is personal preference. Most people would probably prefer peeled, but I like to use the whole food whenever possible, so as not to loose any nutrients or fiber. It’s your call. Not peeling is also less work upfront. 🙂 (If not using organic apples though, I would definitely peel them.)
I used an 8″ chef’s knife to cut each apple into 1/4ths. Then I used a paring knife to cut out the seeds, any bits of core, or other parts I didn’t want in my applesauce. Then I sliced the 1/4th in half with my paring knife and threw it into my 5 qt. cast iron dutch oven, with about 1 inch of water in it.
After all the apples were cored and put into the pot (they were actually mounded up over the top of the pot), I put it on the stove and turned it on high. I let it start to boil. With a wooden spoon, I gently mashed the apples down into the pot.
After a few minutes, I turned the heat down to medium/medium high. Once the apples were apple to be mashed down into the pot enough, I put the lid on and let them cook.
I checked them every once and while to mash them down more and stir them around so the ones on the bottom wouldn’t stick or burn. Sticking and burning rarely happens in my well-seasoned cast iron pot though…one of the reasons I love it. Another reason I love it is that is adds iron to our food. Yay!
After the apples had cooked down a good bit,
I added some cinnamon and stirred it in. I added a teaspoon. You can add more or less or leave it out altogether. Totally up to you.
Once the apples had become really mushy and the sauce had thickened (i.e. didn’t look watery any more), I turned the pot off.
Another way to tell it’s ready is if you didn’t peel your apples, most of the peels will kind of be floating on their own without much “apple” left on them.
Next, I used a stainless steel ladle to scoop the sauce into my Blendtec blender jar.
I used the “sauce/dip” cycle and ran it through twice to ensure the skins were well blended.
You really have lots of options at this stage though — if you peeled your apples, you could just mash them with a potato masher or a spoon and leave your applesauce chunky; you could run it through a blender or a food mill; or you could use a hand blender right in your pot. It depends on if you peeled your apples or not and how chunky/pureed you like your applesauce.
After blending my applesauce, I poured it into quart mason jars.
I filled them up just to the bottom of the banded neck of the jar.
My 6 lbs. of apples (22 small apples) completely filled 3 quart jars (about 12 cups).
Then I topped them with plastic caps and put them in the refrigerator to cool.
One will stay in the refrigerator and two will move to the freezer later today or tomorrow, once they’re cold. (Correction: I started this post earlier today, but now a few hours later, one entire quart is already gone! hehe Guess one will stay in the refrigerator and one will go to the freezer, because one empty jar is already in the dishwasher!)
Somewhere along the way I taste-tested the applesauce and managed to burn my tongue, so I will have to wait for DH and the kids to give me a review of the taste. 🙁 In the past, homemade has always beaten any type of applesauce from a jar, hands down, so I’m thinking this time won’t be any different. (Update: I let Luke be the first taste tester after nap time and he immediately asked for more. I said he could have a little more and he said, “How about a lot more?” Guess it’s a winner!)
Total time was just over an hour, so from starting to core the apples to cleaning your pot and blender, plan on about 1-1/2 hours. It may take slightly longer if you choose to peel your apples. (Note: We don’t mind the peel ground up in our applesauce, but I do think it adds the slightest of bitter after-tastes, so it’s totally up to you and your preferences whether to do skins on or peeled.)
So, in summary, here’s what I did.
1. Buy apples. Organic and a mix of types preferred.
2. Core apples and cut into 1/8ths. Peeling optional.
3. Put 1 inch of water and cored apples into pot.
4. Heat to boiling, then reduce to medium/medium-high and cover.
5. Cook, stirring occasionally until apples are mushy and sauce has thickened. Add cinnamon to taste (optional).
6. Mash, blend, or mill your applesauce depending on the consistency you want.
7. Put in containers and refrigerate (or enjoy some warm!). Once cold, move to freezer if desired.
That’s it! Easy, homemade, two-ingredient cinnamon applesauce to enjoy warm or cold. Yum!!
(Another note: this applesauce is plenty sweet on it’s own for us, but if your apples are tart or your family is used to sweeter treats, you may want to add a little bit of sweetener of your choice. Of course, it’s healthier without, and if using sweet apples, you really shouldn’t need anything extra!)
Let me know if you try it!! 🙂
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