Homemade Applesauce

by feastonthecheap on October 14, 2010

Mary Anne here. From the time my children were tiny tots, Halloween and fall festivals were two of our favorite things. Each year, in early October, I chose a crisp, sunny day and trundled my bunch up the highway to our favorite pumpkin patch in North Salem. Running, squealing and tripping amongst the stemmed squashes in their very own field of dreams, each of my children claimed his/her personal pumpkin later to be carved into a “scary” Jack-o-lantern by yours truly.

Across the road from this mecca there was an apple orchard and, once my motley crew stuffed themselves with homemade donuts and cider from pumpkin land, we made the short walk across the street and picked who-knows-how-many bushels of rosy red apples. Exhilarated by our successful quest for fall’s treasures (and I, secretly smug knowing I had thoroughly exhausted my rowdy imps), we drove home with Jack-o-lantern grins etched into our own cheeks.

Within a few short days – after indulging in apple-laden pancakes, pies, crumbles and lunch bags loaded with caramel-dipped apples – I would inevitably run out of ways to use up our bounty! One night after dinner, I decided to try my hand at homemade applesauce. I didn’t use a recipe and just whipped those apples into what is probably one of Mariel’s all-time favorite childhood treats. When I told her I would recreate it for the blog, I swear she let out a virtual e-squeal.

Simple, healthful, no sugar added (unless you really can’t help yourself), this recipe is such an incredible winner. Use any type of apple or a mixed bag for a more “complex” flavor. There are those who swear by Golden Delicious, but I like a combo of Macs, Gala, Fugi, and even a Granny Smith tossed into the brew for extra tartness.

Serve alongside pork chops or roasts, our Potato Latkes, or simply by itself. I give it a dusting of cinnamon just before serving. Happy apple picking to all!

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Homemade Applesauce
Makes 10 cups (20 half-cup servings)

Note: The applesauce can be prepared 3 days ahead ahead of time and will keep for about a week, covered and refrigerated.

Ingredients:
3 pounds of any variety or combo of apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch pieces – $2.64
1 cup water – stock
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice – stock
3/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon – stock
a pinch of ground allspice – stock
3 Tablespoons of brown sugar (if you must!) – stock
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $2.64
Total Per Serving: $0.13

Directions:
1. Combine the prepared apples with all of the other ingredients in a heavy stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, until the apples are very tender, about 30 minutes.

2. Uncover the apples and continue simmering over a slightly higher flame (medium-low) until about half of the liquid has evaporated, 10 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and mash the apples with a fork or a potato masher until a chunky consistency. We like ours smooth, so I actually puree it in a food processor armed with a steel blade.

4. Cover and refrigerate, or serve immediately at room temperature.