I think the first time I ever saw anyone even reference making applesauce, I must have been 7 or 8, was in a show called Little Bear. Little Bear and his friend Emily were playing as her grandma made applesauce, they had to keep busy while it cooled down. It’s so funny, but all these years later every time I make applesauce I think of Little Bear. Nostalgia aside, making applesauce is such a great way to use up apples!
I’m lucky enough to have neighbors who will bring my little pigs (Myrtle and Basil) some of their vegetables and fruits that are getting a little soft and squishy. One day last week, one of my neighbors brought a whole load of things for the pigs. One of those things was a perfect bag of apples – not a blemish, not a squish to be seen! I knew right then and there I was going to cook those apples, sorry Myrtle and Basil.
So to start, take your apples – peel them, cut out the core and cut them into quarters. Put them all in a pan, along with 3/4 of a cup of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I added cinnamon sticks to this batch of applesauce – totally optional. Turn on a medium low heat. Let the apples slowly break down with the help of the heat. You can put the lid on the pan if you want to speed things up. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing scorches on the bottom of the pan.
After 20 – 30 minutes you’ll see that the apples will have become soft and will mash easily with back of a spoon. Success! You are ready to turn these apples into applesauce! If the apples are still a bit firm give them some more cooking time.
Once the apples have cooked enough, it’s time to blend them down into a smooth purée. You can choose to do this with a blender, immersion blender or food processor. Whatever you have. They all work! I use an immersion blender this time. A couple of zips with the immersion blender, will turn this into a nice smooth purée. You are in control of the texture of your applesauce, smooth or slightly chunky it really is up to you!
Now it’s time to add the sugar – and you might ask, why at the end? Well, the apples (depending on which variety you choose) may already be sweet. Or maybe you don’t want to use this applesauce as a sweet, maybe you have something savory in mind. Whatever the case – adding the sugar at the end ensures that you will get exactly what you want flavor wise. For this amount of apples (1 – 3 pound bag), I thought that 1/3 of a cup of sugar would be enough to sweeten this applesauce.
Another reason to add the sugar at the end is to make sure you don’t get a funny texture to the applesauce. If you cook the apples with the sugar from the very beginning, they won’t break down into a smooth purée. I only know this because one time I was entrusted to make applesauce, and, trying to save time, I added the sugar right at the beginning. This was a big mistake as when it came time to blend everything down, the apples would not break down smoothly. They were clear and translucent, and the only thing I could come up with in my mind is that I candied the apples before I cooked them. Anywho – just add the sugar at the end and you’ll be fine.
So now, you’ve made all this applesauce but you don’t think you can eat it all at once. No problem! Applesauce is one of those things that cans so well! Can and preserve it, so you can enjoy this whenever you choose!