Homemade Applesauce

Growing up, my babysitter always served us homemade applesauce and rhubarb sauce. She would make huge batches of both, put them in large mason jars, and store them in freezers in her garage. If you were lucky, you got to be the one she asked to go into the garage (which was off-limits to the kids) and get a few jars out of the freezer when she needed more.

It was always exciting know that someone went to go get those jars because you knew that you would be having some for lunch!

Even though the rhubarb sauce is hands down my favorite (sweet and tart all at the same time), the applesauce is pretty yummy as well and I remember exactly how she made it. No sugar. Just apples, lemon juice, spices, and time…and a few tools.

She would cut the apples into quarters and cook, with skins still on, low and slow on the stove until they were mushy and then her husband would use a cone strainer to mash out the yummy apples to remove the skins from the sauce.

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My babysitter would use a strainer like this to make her applesauce.

 

Applesauce does not need to be sweetened by sugar as the apples have enough natural sugars in them to sweeten the sauce. The trick is to use 2-3 different types of apples and to take your time. Whenever I bake apples (either for sauce, pies, or in another dish), I always use multiple types of apples.

BEST APPLES FOR COOKING

NAME Best Uses Flavor Characteristic, Appearance
Braeburn Sauce Tart, sweet, aromatic, tall shape, bright color
Cortland Pies, Sauces, Fruit Salad Tart, crisp, larger than ‘McIntosh’
Fuji Baking Sweet and juicy, firm, red skin
Gala Dried, Cider Mild, sweet, juicy, crisp, yellow-orange skin with red striping (resembles a peach)
Granny Smith Baking Moderately sweet, crisp flesh, green skin
Jonagold Pie, Sauce Tangy-sweet, Yellow top, red bottom
Jonathan Sauce Tart flesh, crisp, juicy, bright red on yellow skin
McIntosh Sauce Juicy, sweet, pinkish-white flesh, red skin
Newtown Pippin Pie, Sauce, Cider Sweet-tart flesh, crisp, greenish-yellow skin
Rhode Island Greening Pie Very tart, distinctively flavored, grass-green skin, tending toward yellow/orange
Rome Beauty Baking, Cider Mildly tart, crisp, greenish-white flesh, thick skin
Winesap Sauce, Pie, Cider Very juicy, sweet-sour flavor, winey, aromatic, sturdy, red skin

And while you do not need a strainer, I would highly recommend the purchase of an apple peeler, slicer, and corer tool. Until you have used one, you have no idea how much of a blessing it is when baking with apples! The awesome thing about a model similar to the one below is you can remove the peeler portion if you want to leave the skins on and it will just slice and core the apple in seconds. You can find one in most kitchen stores or online for relatively cheap.

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Other tools you will need is a large pot, spoon, and immersion blender/blender/hand masher.

Homemade Applesauce

  • 3 lbs apples (2-3 different varieties), sliced and cored
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Cinnamon
  • Apple pie spice (optional)

Wash and prepare your apples. You can leave the skins on or opt to remove them. I like to leave them on as it adds some texture and additional flavors to the sauce.

Place apple slices in large pot and mix in lemon juice and cinnamon to taste. Heat the apples up on medium-low heat until they start to steam. Reduce heat, cover, and cook over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. When I say low heat, I mean as low as you can get it after you heat it up initially. Cooking the apples long and slow will help bring out their natural sugars to sweeten the sauce. I sometimes cook the apples as long as 1 1/2-2 hours. It all just depends on how firm they were to start out with.

Apples are almost done when they easily mash under light pressure from your spoon. Once they reach this stage, cook for about 10-15 more minutes to bring out the sugars just a little bit more.

Use your blender or hand masher to puree the sauce. I like to use my immersion blender at first to start to break the sauce down and then use my hand masher to finish because I like lumpy applesauce. If you want it smooth like what you buy in the store, you will need to use a blender. Add more cinnamon and apple pie spice to your liking.

Serve immediately when it is warm (yum!) and store in your refrigerator for up to 1 week or in your freezer.

This recipe is hard to give an accurate macro count for as it makes different amounts every time due to the size and type of apples you choose. One serving is usually 1/2 cup, so use a 1/2 cup measure to count how many servings are in your batch. You can then use your food diary to enter in the recipe and number of servings to have it calculate the macros.

The last time I made this, mine came out to the following macros:

  • 0 grams fat
  • 19.8 grams carbohydrates
  • 0 grams protein
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