Commercial apple sauce is usually chock full of sugar and preservatives; I don't like the taste, and I'm not overly excited about the possibility that I'm ingesting a Health Canada-approved "legally allowed amount" of bug parts and worms in every spoonful. As a vegetarian city girl, that thought kind of repulses me.
The best way to avoid eating things you don't want is to control your food source. Making your own sauces, spreads, and butters from scratch is an excellent way to do this! The apples used in this apple sauce (and the previous post on apple butter) were purchased directly from an Ontario apple farm, so I was able to control that aspect too. I'm not suggesting you need to go to that extreme, but if you have access to the local farms in your area, or can afford to buy organic, I say rock on.
So, if you have at least 2 hours of time, 4 lbs of cooking apples, a stove, and a big, heavy-bottomed pot, you too can make one of the best foods of the harvest, right in your own kitchen!
This recipe will need the following equipment:
- An 8-quart (7.5L) thick-bottomed, wide mouthed saucepan (do NOT use a thin-bottomed stockpot)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Silicone or other heat-resistant spatula, a ladle, and a strong wooden spoon
- Six to eight 8-ounce (250mL) canning jars
|Plain applesauce on the left, and "pink" applesauce on the right|
- 4 lbs of cooking apples (the ones that go mushy when cooked; we used Gala apples, which is what is available in our area) peeled*, cored and quartered
- 1 lemon: cut off 4 wide strips of lemon peel with a potato peeler, then juice the lemon and reserve the juice
- 1 cinnamon stick, or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar (depending on the sweetness of the apples once they are cooked down, you may not need it)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp table or sea salt
Remove cooked apples from heat. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon peels. Mash with a potato masher until desired consistency; if you want your applesauce completely smooth, force pulp through a metal strainer or a food mill. Taste for sweetness -- this is when you would add up to the reserved 1/4 cup of sugar if necessary; stir in and simmer for another 5 minutes.
This recipe freezes very well, and will keep up to one year well-wrapped in the freezer. Alternatively you may process your applesauce in a canner at this point; if you don’t know how to can or need a refresher course, please refer to my post here on canning raspberry jam for step by step instructions.
*ProTip: If you want to make “pink” apple sauce (like in the pic above), leave the peels on!