Fall is my favorite season (although spring comes pretty close!) with its crisp air, colorful foliage and yummy desserts! I love fresh apples, especially Cortlands and Macs - they have a little zing to them! :) I've already made apple pie and eaten someone else's apple crisp - and last week I made applesauce.
This year I actually picked the apples from the trees I have in my yard - we've had them growing for several years, but have never sprayed them, so the fruit tends to get pretty chewed up by bugs. I had to cut out a lot of bad spots - but hey, on the plus side, I guess I can say my apples are organic! :) (These pictures are from last year, though, so you're seeing orchard apples here.)
So...to make applesauce, guess what you need first - apples! :D Who would have guessed? This is a respectable amount of apples here, and will make a very big bowlful - you'll see pictures of our big white bowl later on that will give you an idea of how much applesauce to expect. Oh, and don't forget to clean your sink before dumping the apples in!
Rinse your apples, then chop them. The really nice thing about applesauce, at least with the method that I use, is that you don't need to peel or core them, and you can leave the chunks fairly large! The smaller you cut them, the faster they'll cook, but unless you're in a big hurry, quartering the apples usually works fine.
Toss the pieces in a pot that has a little bit of water in the bottom - the amount in this picture is probably a bit too much, actually. :) I ended up with very wet applesauce last year...
You can fill the pot quite full - the apples will take up less room as they get soft. Just make sure you can still stir it!
Lids are a good idea - they speed up the process and keep the moisture in. I forgot to use a lid this year, and my applesauce turned out rather thick. Stir frequently, getting all the way to the bottom of the pot so the apples don't burn and stick to the pot.
In the picture below, the apples are just about done - very soft. See how much they've reduced?
I use a food mill to make applesauce. I think there are other methods, but the food mill will separate the skins, cores and seeds from the applesauce, so you don't have to peel or core the apples - which saves a LOT of time! Just hook the food mill over the edge of a bowl, dump some of the cooked apples into the top, and spin the handle. Occasionally reverse direction to scoop up bits that get shoved off to the side. It presses the applesauce through little holes in the bottom, leaving the skins and stuff in the top.
You'll have to empty out the skins and cores now and then, as all the apple is pressed out into the bowl below - just make sure you scrape the underside of the food mill when you lift it up, as there will be applesauce underneath. You don't want to waste any! :)
When you're done, add brown sugar and cinnamon to taste. I'm generally not allowed to do this, as I tend to have a rather heavy hand with the sugar and spices. :) A sinkful of apples will fill this big white bowl. See the containers behind it? Those go into our chest freezer; where they will keep until we want one during the year. No need for canning if you have room in your freezer!
The process takes a little while, but it's totally worth it when you eat a warm, fresh spoonful of homemade applesauce!
P.S. - Try it (warm) over pancakes or biscuits! :)
P.P.S. - Check out the newest items I've listed on my Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/MiscellanyEtc). I may even do a giveaway of one of the items in an upcoming blog post, so be sure to keep checking back!