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Fear Conquered: Homemade Applesauce
Please note: There is a new, simplified version of this recipe. Check it out.
I love buying big bags of apples at Patterson Fruit Farm in Chesterland, Ohio. Love it. Love sorting through all the bags of apples. Love the triumph of finding a low-priced "seconds" bag of ever-popular Honey Crisp apples. And love the lugging the bags back to the car. Fall doesn't start until I've been to Patterson.
Even though, I don't live in Ohio anymore. Even though, Honey Crisp apples are now widely available at grocery stores across the US. Even though, it's not really the apples I love. Although I do love them. And I absolutely must journey to Patterson every fall for at least two giant bags of apples.
It's the memories. It's the love. It's standing in the bakery line with friends. It's grabbing apples slices for Boyfriend Javelin to sample (although he's sampled every apple variety at least once before). It's loitering in the parking lot afterwards, willing the day to last a little longer.
In the end, there's just the apples. Enormous bags of apples. And everything to be made with those apples. Apple pie, apple crumble, apple doughnuts, apple muffins. And definitely apple sauce. Lots and lots (and LOTS) of applesauce.
Applesauce is super easy to make. You don't need anything but apples (and maybe some apple cider to apple juice). No sugar. No added water. No blending or mashing or straining. All you need is a big pot with a lid. And some time. Deliciously sweet applesauce takes time.
But don't worry. You can put your feet up for most of that time. Read a book. Pop in a movie. Clean the house. You'll have time.
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|You will need a large dutch oven or stock pot with a fitting lid. For faster preparation, I recommend using an apple dicer/corer, apple peeler and a chopping gadget.|
|Core and dice apples.|
|Toss apples in the juice of 1/2 an orange and 1/2 a lemon.|
|Add diced apples to the dutch oven over low heat and cover. Simmer for 2 hours.|
|While the apples simmer, add the apple peels and 3/4 cup of apple cider to a medium pot and simmer for 90 minutes until apple peels are mushy.|
|Transfer the apple peels and cooking juices to a blender and puree until very smooth.|
|Add the puree to the cooking apples; stir to combine.|
|Roast the applesauce in the oven uncovered at 375F for 90 minutes until the sauce is thickened and caramelized.|
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Baked Apple Sauce
Prep Time: 45 min
Cook Time: 4 hours
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Ingredients (makes 2 to 3 quarts)
- 8 lbs (28 to 35) apples (recommend mix of Honey Crisp, Granny Smith and Red Delicious)
- 1/2 lemon, juice of
- 1/2 orange, juice of
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- Ground cinnamon (optional, to taste)
- Ground cloves (optional, to taste)
- Ground nutmeg (optional, to taste)
- Ground ginger (optional, to taste)
- Wash, peel, core and finely dice the apples and toss with the lemon and orange juice; reserve the peels in a separate medium pot
- Add the diced apples to a large, oven-safe dutch oven over low heat; cover and simmer the apples for 2 hours until 3/4 of the apples have dissolved into a sauce, stirring occasionally
- While the apples cook, add the apple cider to the reserved apple peels, cover the pot and simmer over low heat for 90 minutes until the peels are soft and mushy, stirring occasionally
- Preheat the oven to 375℉
- Add the cooked apple peels and cooking juice to a blender and puree until very smooth (adding additional water as necessary); stir the puree and optional spices into the simmering apples
- Roast the applesauce in the oven uncovered for 90 minutes until the sauce is thickened and caramelized, stirring thoroughly every 30 minutes
- Serve immediately or allow the applesauce to cool to room temperature before refrigerating for up to a week or freezing for up to a year
An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2011 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
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Hungry for Tips?
- Roasting: Roasting the applesauce is critical for caramelizing the natural sugars in the apples, resulting in a sweeter sauce. Roasting also helps to concentrate the apple flavor by evaporating much of the liquid and so thickening the sauce. So don't skip this step.
- Apple Variety: The best-tasting applesauce is one packed with a variety of apples. I try to use at least 3 types of apples: something sweet, something crisp and something tart. I personally love to mix Honey Crisp, Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples.
- Spice or No Spice: I personally love applesauce without any added spices but Boyfriend Javelin prefers an applesauce heavily spiced with cinnamon and cloves. So add some spice or don't. This baked applesauce is bursting with flavor either way.
- Color: This is not pale, watery, barely golden applesauce that one might pour from a bottle. This sauce is thick and a gorgeous caramel color. It's also packed with fiber from the pureed apple peels.
- Water: NEVER add water to applesauce - it results in watery flavor and texture. Just cook the apples low and slow and keep them covered. The apples release plenty of water throughout the cooking process.
- Apple Seconds: You can save significantly on applesauce if you pick up "seconds" apples from your local farm. In fact, "seconds" are typically about half the price of apples sold even at bargain stores like Walmart. So if you can find apple seconds, stock up and cook-off a few batches of sauce
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