.Make some applesauce this fall. Make it now, while the apples are fresh and crisp and juicy,
It’s so easy, and so good.
First, get a Foley Mill or food mill. This is an inexpensive, easily obtainable hand-powered mill that makes it possible to make the best applesauce ever.
Buy good apples. I like to use Cortland apples or a blend of Cortlands with a few tart Macoun or Macintosh apples thrown in.
Wash them carefully and remove any leaves. Don’t peel them!
Cut the apples into chunks, removing any blemishes. I cut small apples into halves, and cut the medium and large apples into quarters. No need to remove stems, cores, or seeds. Don’t peel them! Just don’t – there’s a reason.
Put the cut-up apples into a large, heavy-bottomed pot (I use my Dutch oven), add some fresh apple cider (¼ to ½ cup or so, depending on how many apples you’ve used and how juicy they are), and throw in a cinnamon stick or two, or a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. That’s it! Don’t add sugar. Just don’t. The apples are already sweet and flavorful. The cider adds a bit of concentrated flavor. Really, try this without sugar and see what you think!
Cover the pot, bring the apples and cider to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer until the apples are very soft. Mushy, even. It’s OK to let it cook longer if you are busy, but longer cooking won’t make it better. In fact, I like to stop the cooking after 30 minutes or so to preserve as much of the fresh apple flavor as possible. Stir it all up once in a while to ensure that the apples cook evenly. If it looks dry, add a splash more cider, but not too much. This will probably not take more than 30 minutes, depending on the quantity.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a bit.
Position the Foley mill over a large bowl. Start processing the apple mixture through (all at once for a small amount, in batches for a larger quantity). The seeds, cores, and skins will remain in the mill – the lovely, warm, fragrant, applesauce will pile up in the bowl and soon people will start coming into the kitchen to ask, “What smells so good?”
And now you will see that the red of the apple skins has created a lovely pink color in your homemade applesauce. When you taste it, you’ll discover a flavor that you simply can’t get in a jar. Many people who taste my applesauce ask, "How much sugar did you use?" They are always surprised when I answer, "None!"
This applesauce is delicious on its own, warm or cold. D had a bowl last night with fresh date-nut bars. I love it hot over buttered toast. K likes it for breakfast with toast on the side. It keeps for a week or more in the refrigerator, and freezes beautifully.
We have a big week ahead – tech and production week for all three of us – so I’ve planned some “comfort foods” to have on hand, and this applesauce is one of them.