One of my favorite things about fall is making applesauce. Canning homemade applesauce has been a family tradition as long as I can remember. Growing up with my grandparents, we had 50 acres of apple trees in our backyard. We didn’t maintain the orchard, so the apples weren’t always pretty, but they were perfect for cooking, baking and canning. Every fall we spent at least a day picking the apples, cooking them into sauce and canning enough for the year ahead.
To this day, I can’t bring myself to buy the bland, overly sweet, store-bought stuff because homemade applesauce tastes so much better. Try it and see for yourself! Homemade applesauce also has a pretty, pinkish color because you cook the apples with their peels on.
If you don’t have an apple orchard in your backyard, ask your local orchard for their seconds. They’ll be a lot cheaper and they’ll work great for applesauce.
No-Sugar-Added Homemade Applesauce
Yields approximately 1 quart
- 6 pounds apples*
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
Quarter the apples. It’s not necessary to peel or core them. (The seeds have a small amount of cyanide in them so you can remove them if you want. We never did and from what I’ve read, it’s not necessary.) Add enough water to a large pot to just cover the bottom. Add the cinnamon stick and the apples and cover the pot. Cook over medium-low heat for approximately 30 minutes, until the apples are very soft. Place a food mill over a large bowl. Run the apples through the mill. The mill will push the applesauce into the bowl and prevent the skins and seeds from getting into the sauce.
*The secret to a really good applesauce is to use a variety of apples. Use apples that are naturally sweet and you won’t need to add sugar. Some good choices include McIntosh, Gala, Fuji, Jonathan, Pink Lady and Winesap.