Wednesday, September 29, 2010

applesauce

my mother's kitchen light

And so we’ve officially ushered autumn in. Everywhere I turn – apples, apples, apples. Everyone keeps telling me about apple picking, my farmers market has more apple stands than I know what to do with, and I’m coming into a small apple fortune come Monday night when a friend plans to bicycle over a portion of her forty pound bounty, and I’m hoping to get busy with some apple butter, which reminds me I should get a food mill and some Bell jars stet.* But that’s a story for another day. Today is all about apple sauce that I made while at my parents’ house a few weekends ago.

quartered

You see, my mother, like me, gets overly excited about fall produce and before she knows it, her house is drowning in apples as if she’s about to start her own apple stand. But you and I both know that a human being can only eat so many apples a day and before you know it, they start to get all mushy and mealy. And then you throw them out, and that’s just tragic. Tragic, I say.

cored

So I found myself staring at piles of apples that I knew, (just knew!) were going to go to waste and that my mother would kick herself for allowing that to happen. I figured apple sauce might be a fun way to use them, and since I’ve never actually tried my hand at it, I decided to trust Elise’s recipe (since hers never fail me) and attempt one of my childhood favorite treats. So while my mother was napping, or running errands (I can’t recall which), I grabbed some apples and got to work. And by work I mean I cut and cored the apples, threw them in the pot with the remaining ingredients, brought everything to a boil, reduced heat, and let everything simmer for half an hour. In fact, while the apples were cooking, I got started on dinner and didn’t even tend to the pot once. Not a single time.

ready

If I’d known apple sauce was so easy to make, I would have never bought it in the first place. And the taste, the flavor, the apple-y intensity that a pre-made version can’t even approximately deliver – are well worth the minimal effort apple sauce requires. Besides, no scented-candle can make your house smell as cozy and welcoming as that cinnamon-apple smell that will envelop your house. If anyone finds a way to bottle it, let me know – I’ll be your first customer!

apple sauce
apple sauce

*Whoa, that was a long sentence!

Apple Sauce
Loosely adapted from Elise

Ingredients:
4 lbs cored, and quartered apples, like Ginger Gold, Macintosh, Cortland (you can peel them first, but I like fishing the peels out with tongs, later once cooked because I find it to be much faster than peeling – read on)
4 strips of lemon peel – use a vegetable peeler to strip 4 lengths
Juice of one lemon, about 3-4 Tbsp
1 cinnamon stick (or 2 short ones, in my case)
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Preparation:

Put all ingredients into a large pot, cover it, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat, and let the ingredients simmer for 30 minutes. The apples should be quite soft at this point and falling off the peels. You should be able to take your tongs and fish out the apple peels one by one – it should take you about 5 minutes, as opposed to however long it takes to peel the apples. I find that the “fishing out” is significantly less time consuming. Call me lazy.

Remove the apple sauce from heat and discard cinnamon sticks and lemon peels. Mash with potato masher until apples become pureed-looking with tiny little lumps. If you like your apple sauce to be silky smooth, you may puree it in a food processor, but I like mine slightly chunky.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

You can also freeze apple sauce and use as needed. Frozen it should last up to a year, but with apple sauce this good, you can hardly expect it to linger in your freezer that long.

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25 Comments

  • 1

    There’s nothing simpler than homemade apple sauce and it’s such a delight having that first batch of it in the fall. This looks wonderful and, of course, your pictures are stunning. I’m going to have to make some this weekend… though mine may be a little chunkier than yours (how I like it) :-)

    September 29, 2010 4:42 pm
  • 2

    I love the dish you put your applesauce in! My grandmother had the same one! And I agree – the smell of applesauce is amazing. I need to make some!

    September 29, 2010 9:42 pm
  • 3
    molly said:

    We just wrapped up making vats of sauce, after apple-picking a few weeks back. Used cider and nutmeg and nothing else, but I’m entirely intrigued by the lemon peel and brown sugar. We left ours unpeeled, and food-milled it at the end, and the resulting sauce was the most staggering deep pink.

    September 29, 2010 10:49 pm
  • 4

    I had no idea applesauce was so simple to make. I’m tempted to give it a try!

    September 29, 2010 11:23 pm
  • 5
    Radish said:

    Chowgirl – please do, you’ll never buy it again!

    September 30, 2010 8:24 am
  • 6

    I LOVE apple sauce. Absolutely LOVE IT.

    September 30, 2010 9:34 am
  • 7

    I made almost the same recipe the other day, but I spiced it more, cooked it longer, and pureed it perfectly smooth. Voila – apple butter!

    Has anyone had trouble with their apples needing additional water in order to cook down? I had that problem and was wondering if my apples weren’t good cooking apples?

    September 30, 2010 9:45 am
  • 8

    Very well done and pretty pictures! My kids love Homemade Applesauce and always great to find recipes!

    September 30, 2010 10:41 am
  • 9
    Dana said:

    Hurray for apple sauce! We’ve got jars and jars of it here, all preserved for the winter. The Mister announced, “no more applesauce making, please!” … but then a friend gave me another bag of apples.

    I’ve tried to keep mine really simple, just apples, but yours sounds really good. Maybe I’ll try it next!

    September 30, 2010 12:44 pm
  • 10
    Tracy said:

    Your series of photos for this post are just beautiful. They capture that chilly/sweater wearing/cinnamon/warm oven bread baking feel that I love about this time of year. The apples, gorgeous. Makes me want to buy a load more than I should at the farmers market, buckle down, and make applesauce.

    September 30, 2010 2:45 pm
  • 11

    Oh I am going apple picking this weekend, I know what I am making with all my apples! Simply food is the best.

    September 30, 2010 4:42 pm
  • 12
    LimeCake said:

    there’s something so comforting about applesauce. I could easily eat this out of the container! yum!

    September 30, 2010 9:40 pm
  • 13

    This is very similar to my mom’s recipe. It’s far too hot here yet to feel in a fall-ish mood, but your post got me excited for the moment that happens :)

    September 30, 2010 10:50 pm
  • 14
    Rachel said:

    We usually only have homemade applesauce around Chanukah in my house, but this does look so simple to make and I’m dying to go to the orchard and buy way more apples than I can eat myself.

    And that must have been a popular Corningware design, my mom also has the same one!

    October 1, 2010 1:59 am
  • 15

    […] Homemade apple sauce. — Sassy Radish […]

    October 1, 2010 9:58 am
  • 16

    I love your photographs! I have been seeing a lot of people making their own applesauce recently and I really want to jump on the band wagon. I just know, deep down inside, that it would be millions of times better then the store bought I grew up with ;)

    October 1, 2010 3:44 pm
  • 17
    dale said:

    Hi, photos are great! Nancy and I do applesauce also but we peel and core then run thru a juicer, then cook down the pulp in a slow cooker. We can the applesauce and juice in a pressure cooker if there is any juice left

    October 8, 2010 10:09 am
  • 18

    I will have to try this! Been looking for a good apple sauce, but home made is always the best!

    October 13, 2010 4:27 pm
  • 19
    Perovskia said:

    You don’t state what the recipe yields (unless I missed it!). i.e – x-amount of 250ml jars, or whatever. Thanks!

    October 14, 2010 12:01 pm
  • 20
    Radish said:

    Perovskia – you got me. That picture of the dish you see, that’s what you get. I would guess, it’s 2 pint sized jars, not more though. Sorry, we ate it so fast, we didn’t even think of canning it.

    October 14, 2010 12:40 pm
  • 21

    […] week – I lug them from the market in crazy quantities. Some of them get cooked down into a sauce, others get eaten as a snack. Still, this might just be my favorite way, besides pie and tarte […]

    November 2, 2010 3:40 pm
  • 22
    Anne said:

    Add a little butter to each batch and serve warm. Elevates the taste exponentially.

    April 13, 2011 10:45 pm
  • 23

    […] sugar 1/2 cup (48 grams) light brown sugar 1 1/2 cups unsweetened (12 ounces) (preferably homemade) applesauce 2/3 cup (116 ml) extra-virgin mild olive oil 1 teaspoon vanilla […]

    September 22, 2011 11:08 am
  • 24

    […] excuse. I had a filled cavity from earlier that morning and could hardly open my mouth. Applesauce seemed too boring. And it was too warm to contemplate mashed potatoes. Naturally, the next possible […]

    September 10, 2012 11:04 am
  • 25

    […] butter is basically a sexy version of applesauce that has been cooked down to the color of milk chocolate (though mine came out slightly lighter […]

    September 26, 2012 6:36 pm

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