Every fall when I was little my mom used to make applesauce. We often would find places to pick our own apples or friends would give us apples from their own trees. I don’t remember much about the process other than she would package the sauce in plastic bags and freeze. At the end of summer it seemed our big deep freeze would be half applesauce and half frozen berries. My mom’s sauce was silky smooth and perfectly tart. She never added anything to the sauce, not sugar or cinnamon.
When my oldest started eating solid foods I started making applesauce, too. But now instead of packaging it in freezer bags, I pour the applesauce into jelly jars to freeze. The jelly jar size, although slightly impractical, contains the perfect amount for two servings for dessert. My girls frequently say things like “Oooh, yay!” when I pull out one of the rose-colored jelly jars mid-winter and announce it’s applesauce for dessert. Not bad considering, like my mother, I make the applesauce with nothing added
This recipe is ridiculously easy and hardly a recipe. The main piece of equipment you need is a food mill. I’ve had mine for over 15 years and every single time I use it, I wish I had invested in a nice stainless steel food mill, but it’s hard to justify since it’s used so rarely. Nevertheless, if you don’t have a food mill, you can pick an inexpensive one up for about $20.
Why a food mill? By using one you will eliminate about 90% of the work of making applesauce because you don’t have to peel or core the apples.
This recipe can be modified by however many apples you have. I’m just putting down 5lbs. because it’s an easy number to remember and it’s how much I used in the photos posted below. By the way, I bought 20 pounds of organic Johnathan (please always buy organic when purchasing apples as they are one of our most heavily sprayed crops) apples from the farmers’ market last week for $20. Granted they were “seconds,” but I didn’t see but one blemish on the entire batch.
- 5 lbs of apples, washed and quartered (that’s right, no need to peel, core or seed)
- Pinch of salt
Place apples in a large saucepan. Add 1/2 inch of water and a pinch of salt. Cover and let apples cook down for about 30 minutes on medium high heat, stirring every few minutes. After 30 minutes, remove lid and lower temperature. Let cook for about 10-15 more minutes or until apples become really mushy. Remove from heat and let cool about 30 minutes.
Place your food mill over a large bowl. Add cooked apples to the mill and turn, turn, turn! Package your freshly milled applesauce in freezer bags or jars. Fresh applesauce will keep in the refrigerator for about one week. Frozen applesauce will keep for about a year or just long enough until apple season begins again.
Apples ready to be cooked:
Apples being turned through food mill:
5lbs of applesauce in jars: