Homemade applesauce is the ultimate comfort food! The heavenly smell of warm apples and cinnamon conjures up images of crisp temperatures, falling leaves and a fire in the fireplace.
Applesauce is very versatile too. Use it as a breakfast accompaniment, a healthy snack or a tangy side-dish to a savory dinner. The beauty of making your own is that you can make it sweeter, tarter, chunkier, smoother, or with more or less spice. You can choose to include the peel or not. You can make a big batch or small batch.
This is the base recipe, and you can personalize it to your taste.
- First of all, choose your apples. Some are crisper and some are softer. Some are sweeter (Fujis) and some are more tart (Granny Smiths). Some have a stronger apple taste (Jonathans), while some are light-tasting (Galas). Mixing 2 or more varieties together can create a unique flavor.
- Next, decide how much of the peel you want to keep. A little peel will provide extra texture and color. We leave about 1/4 of the peel on the apple.
- Core and slice the apples into 8 slices. Then cut the slices into the size of chunks you prefer.
- Put the apple chunks into a pot with a small amount of water.
- Decide whether you want to add spices. Cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cloves and allspice are all great choices. These are strong flavors and can overpower the applesauce, so start light!
- Cook over low heat. The amount of time needed depends on how many apples you’re cooking, which type of apples you use, and how soft you like your applesauce. Be patient and let them cook down slowly. They will burn if the heat is too high. Add small amounts of water as needed to keep from getting too dry.
- Once the apples are the consistency you like, turn off the heat. Decide how chunky you want your applesauce to be. You can use a masher to mash down bigger chunks. You can puree it in a food processor if you like it smooth.
- Once the applesauce has cooled a bit, decide whether to sweeten the applesauce. Usually the sauce is plenty sweet by itself. But when we sweeten it, our favorite is raw honey, about 1 tablespoon for 8 apples.
- Applesauce can be served warm or cold.
- Applesauce freezes well, so you can make a big batch, then freeze it in mason jars.