When I was in high school, I loved coming home on fall afternoons to the sweet smell of applesauce processing on the stove.
My mother would painstakingly gather and peel all the apples from the apple tree, even if they were small enough that others might not bother with them.
She has always been one of the most resourceful and frugal people I know.
My mother’s applesauce is more delicious to me than any store-bought variety.
It’s perfectly sweet and has a touch of warmth that I never could identify until she recently told me it comes from added cinnamon.
When I asked her if she would divulge her secret applesauce recipe, she replied that she doesn’t use one. That’s not what a religious recipe-follower wants to hear, so I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I may never make applesauce like my mom.
Though I can’t provide you with my mother’s delicious recipe, I can tell you how you can make your own signature applesauce with apples from your own trees.
First, wash, core, and cut the apples into chunks. Many people will tell you to peel the apples, but leaving the peels on gives the applesauce more flavor and a beautiful rosy color.
Don’t worry, you’ll remove the peels later on in the process. Place the apple slices into a large pot or saucepan. Leave about an inch of space at the top of the pot. Apples rise as they cook, so you’ll need that space.
Pour about an inch of water into the pot to prevent the apples from sticking to the sides or bottom as they cook. Turn the heat to high until the water boils, then cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Let the apples simmer until they are soft, then remove them from the heat and allow them to cool slightly.
Next, push the softened apples through a food strainer to remove the skins and any seeds you may have missed earlier in the process. Transfer the applesauce to a food processor and puree until there are no more chunks.
Finally, taste the applesauce. If you want to add extra ingredients such as a cinnamon stick, brown sugar or lemon juice, this is the time to do it.
Once you add the extra ingredients, you’ll need to cook the applesauce again until it thickens. This usually takes around 10 minutes.
That’s it! Making applesauce from fresh apples is an easy and delicious way to make sure your harvest is put to good use before it goes bad.
Feel free to serve your applesauce cold or warm. It should stay good in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, as long as you put it in an air-tight container.
You can also freeze or can it for future use. (Peterson is a Serve Daily contributor.)