Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homemade Applesauce

Homemade applesauce, and pearsauce, is a fall staple in our house. It is cheap and easy to make and there are endless variations that keep applesauce showing up on our table year after year. My favorite variation has become a regular on our Thanksgiving table. Served warm and chunky, I mix in a can of whole berry cranberry sauce and some orange zest before serving. My husband, however, prefers his applesauce cold and processed smooth. Fresh fruit sauces can also be served in oatmeal, with yogurt, or over ice cream, yum!

I don't post many recipes here on the blog because I am generally a recipe detractor. Even when I start with a recipe, I cannot keep myself from adding just a dash of extra something. So here is my best shot at a "recipe" for my homemade applesauce.

3 lbs. of apples (any variety or a mixture of different types)
1/2 cup apple cider (water can also be used)
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. brown sugar

Peel and slice apples and place directly into a medium, heavy saucepan. Sprinkle with lemon juice if desired to keep the apples from browning.
Add apple cider or water to the pan and turn heat on medium. The liquid will keep the apples from burning on the bottom until they begin giving off their own juices.
Cook to desired tenderness, mashing with a wooden spoon throughout cooking.
Add cinnamon and brown sugar before taking the apples off the heat. More or less spices and sweeteners can be added to taste.

The apples are essentially done once they are the size and softness that you prefer. Cook longer and mash more for a smoother applesauce. For a consistently more like store bought, cool slightly then process your applesauce in a food processor or in small batches in a blender. The sauce can be served warm which is delicious, it can also be stored and served cold.

My sons love to help in the kitchen and I encourage them to do so whenever possible. With this recipe, my oldest son (8years) can help with the chopping and my middle son (5years) likes to help with the peeling. To keep my youngest son (2 years) involved, I'll let him sprinkle the apples with lemon juice and stir while we are chopping. If he comes back around later in the process, I'll let him stir in the spices off the heat. Even when it's difficult and messy, I look for ways to let my sons be involved so that they're excited to eat the finished product.

This recipe was created inside, but there are numerous ways to enjoy beautiful fall apples cooked outside:
Dutch oven applesauce could certainly be cooked over a camp fire
Grill apples and serve with cheese and honey
Caramel apples on the campfire
Apple dumplings in the smoker

I truly hope you enjoy! Are you finding fall produce yet where you are?

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