October 16, 2010

Homemade applesauce

Last weekend we went apple picking, which is a must-do fall activity here in western NY. We always end up with more apples than we know what to do with. We took our little niece and nephew and my little cousin. They had fun and I love being able to take small children out to show them where food comes from. We picked a variety of apples like Granny Smith, Crispin, Fuji, and Ida Reds. Aren't they beautiful?

Use good cooking apples (firm, crisp, not too watery) for your applesauce. I find that a combination of apples works out great in all apple recipes... you get some sweet, tart, and different textures. I made applesauce not only to use up some of the apples, but because I wanted to freeze some to have for Thanksgiving dinner. I put two freezer safe containers in the freezer and one container in the refrigerator for immediate use. Give homemade applesauce a try - especially if you go apple picking and have loads of apples. It's easy and tasty. Plus it's a great thing to make with kids after picking apples. 

Homemade applesauce
about 4 lbs of apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4-1/3 cup granulated sugar (start low and then add more after tasting, if needed)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
about 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup water

In a large soup/stock pot, add all of the ingredients. 

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the apples become soft and have cooked down. This should take about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Taste during the cooking process to see if it is sweet enough for you and add more sugar, if desired. Let cool slightly. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Mash using a potato masher until you've reaches your desired consistency. We like our applesauce to have some texture, but if you want really smooth applesauce, you can puree it with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender.

You can refrigerate the sauce in an air tight container for a couple of weeks or freeze in freezer safe containers to eat fall fresh apples at a later date.

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