Apple Sauce

Chunky pink applesauce
My father had a Jonathan apple tree in the backyard. (See below.) I remember sitting outside with my dad peeling apples with the juice running down our arms and the flies buzzing around. We would try to peel it in one continuous strip . . . just to say that we did!

We gave away bags and bags of apples, but we still had lots for us. Every fall, the whole family would pitch in and make applesauce. This went on for days . . . maybe weeks. My mom would can dozens of jars of applesauce. And, through the winter, we would eat it all! By the time I was in junior high school, I could peel and slice apples blindfolded.

I make applesauce different ways. Different apple varieties give different results. Sometimes I peel the apples, other times not. Sometimes I use only white sugar, other times I use brown, or a mix of the two, or honey or maple syrup. I've even made applesauce without cinnamon. See the Slicing Details below for tips on how to vary the texture (and color!) of your applesauce.

Applesauce can be eaten hot, lukewarm, or cold. It's great as a snack or as dessert. I love to pile hot steamed Macintosh apples over waffles and top them with a shake of cinnamon and a splash of maple syrup!

3 pounds apples (~10 medium apples) -- see Slicing Details below
1½ teaspoons cinnamon (optional if you prefer really plain applesauce)
½ cup (or less) white sugar (or brown sugar or honey or maple syrup)
  • Peel the apples if you wish- -- see Slicing Details below. Float them in water to minimize browning.
  • Quarter and core the apples. Float the quarters in water to minimize browning.
  • Slicing Details
    • For a very smooth applesauce, use Macintosh apples, peel them and slice the quarters. You can count on Macintosh apples to completely falling apart. Lumps are rare but if you find any, use a potato masher.
    • If you want the Macintosh applesauce to be a little chunky, peel the apples, and then cut each quarter in half (now you have eighths). Be sure to remove the pot from the burner when the apple chunks start to fall apart so that some will still hold their shape.
    • For pink applesauce, use apples with a very red skin -- and do not peel them! I like Empire apples for this option. Sometimes I cut the slices thick to get a texture that reminds me of baked apples. Other times, I slice the quarters thinly so I don't get any large pieces of skin. The apple slices will get pinker as the applesauce sits in the fridge.
    • If you want your apples to hold the shape of the slices, you need to select an apple known for this trait. Jonathan or Empire apples will work (not Macintosh!) Read about apple varieties to make your choice -- or use this list and look for apples that hold up to cooking. Once the apples begin to soften, add the sugar and get the pot off the heat.
  • Cook the apples
    • Add ½ cup water. 
    • Cook over MEDIUM or MEDIUM-HIGH heat until the apples are at the texture you prefer. Watch carefully. Add another ½ cup water if the sauce is too thick or starting to stick to the pot. 
    • As the apples soften, add the cinnamon (optional). 
    • When the texture is almost perfect, add the sugar -- but remember, once you add the sugar, the apples will likely hold their shape, so don't add it too soon. Stir to completely mix in the sugar. Remove from the heat. 
    • Serve hot, lukewarm, or cold. 
Apple tree  in top right corner...with family and friends....Mom was at  hospital with newborn brother

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