Apple picking has been a yearly fall tradition that I’ve done since I was a young girl. Every fall, my family would go to a local orchard, pick a huge bag of apples, and sample fresh apple cider straight from the cider press. I can still vividly remember the crisp fall days, running through the orchards with my brother and sister, competing who can climb the highest tree and who can pick the most apples.
My husband and I have continued the tradition, but since we don’t have any kids, we drag our friends along! Nothing beats spending a few hours outside on a crisp, fall afternoon with friends. We typically pick around 20 pounds of apples each, which sounds great…until you get home and think, “What the heck am I going to do with all these apples?”
Aside from the ones we eat whole as a snack, we of course make some apple pies and apple crisps. However, my waist line can only handle so many pastries, so the leftover apples always get turned into applesauce. This applesauce recipe is very versatile – you can blend it for a smoother consistency or leave it chunky if you prefer. For a sweet sauce, you can add sugar, but it’s really not necessary if you use a sweet apple variety. I’ve also included the canning instructions if you are interested, or you can always freeze it in a freezer safe container.
Yields: About 5 cups
6 pounds apples
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup granulated sugar (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Wash, peel and core apples. Slice the apples into small cubes. Place the apples in the a large pot, and add 1/2 cup of water. Over medium heat, cook the apples until tender (5 to 20 minutes depending on the type of apple). If you prefer a smooth applesauce, transfer to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. If you prefer it chunky, simply use a potato masher to mash the apples until you reach your desired consistency. If desired, stir in sugar and/or cinnamon. Store in the refrigerator, or can the applesauce using the directions below.
To can the applesauce: Prepare you jars as instructed here. Bring you applesauce to a boil. Fill your sterilized jars with applesauce, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add lids, and process 15 minutes for pint jars, or 20 minutes for quarts.
Source: Adapted from the National Center for Home Food Preservation