This time of year always makes me long for fall in northern Ohio, the land of apple orchards. OK, maybe not THE land of apple orchards, but A land of apple orchards which is more than I can say about central Texas. I think to myself, surely good, cheap apples will show up in the grocery stores in the fall, but they never really do. That doesn’t keep me from making up a few batches of applesauce though!
I’ve never canned my applesauce, I just make enough to refrigerate and eat in a week or two. Typically I use around 5 – 7 apples, but if you are feeding more people you can use more.
I always start with a sweet variety of apples (often Fuji or Gala because they are easy to find here), mostly because I don’t like tart apples. If you start with sweet apples, you don’t have to add much sugar at all. And you can snack on bits of them as you’re cutting them up.
After washing my apples, I start with a handy-dandy apple corer / slicer / peeler contraption from Williams Sonoma given to me by my mother-in-law. I love everything about this tool except having to clean it when I’m done. It’s made out of metal and is very solid and it suctions to the countertop. You can choose not to peel the apples if you don’t want to.
I like my applesauce with the skins in it, but I find if I leave the skins on all of the apples, it’s a little overkill. Instead, I typically leave the skins on about half or a little more than half of the apples and peel the rest. I hand out bits of apple that don’t get used to my dog, she likes apples as much as I do.
Next up is putting the apples in a pot with some water. For 5 apples, I start with about one cup of water and add more towards the end if needed. I also add a healthy dose of cinnamon, the best spice ever, and a sprinkling of ginger and brown sugar.
Put the heat on medium, cover and let cook. If it starts to boil, turn the heat down to low.
It takes probably about 30 – 40 minutes to fully cook the apples. Once they are soft enough, mash them up with a utensil in the pot. I use a wooden spoon or plastic potato masher. Check the consistency and add more water and cook longer if needed. Taste test and add more spice or sugar. Go light on the sugar though, because not much is needed at all.
Last – eat some warm, refrigerate the rest and enjoy the rest of the week!