Today's post is about food. Real food. Easy food. Homemade applesauce to be exact. I had a few extra apples in the fridge that were just a little past good eating stage, but not at all shriveled or bad by any means. I decided this was the day I was going to try my hand at homemade applesauce. I remember when I was little, going to my Grandma and Grandpa's house to pick apples from Grandpa's apple tree. After we harvested all we could carry, the "womenfolk" would retire to the kitchen to sort, clean, peel, chop, boil, puree and can apples. All kinds of apples. Apple slices, applesauce, apple butter, apple pie filling...you name it, it was made right there in Granny's kitchen. Ah, the smells, sights and sounds of that day...and the many days that followed...they are so vivid in my mind. I thought I would share with you the recipe I ended up using...well, actually creating, for my first batch of homemade applesauce. =)
Tonight I grabbed my apples, knives and spaghetti pot and got to work. As you can see, we enjoy a variety of apples here at The Road. Hubby likes the Golden Delicious, while I prefer Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Empire apples. I started with six apples. Two Golden Delicious, two Honeycrisp, and two Empire.
I cut, cored, and chopped them into approximate 1" cubes. (As you can see, I left the skins on. A lot of the recipes I read said that would be fine, that they would come right off and it wouldn't matter. Next time I will be peeling the apples before I chop them...more on that later!). I like a sweeter applesauce, and I love cinnamon, so I grabbed a few spices from the cabinet and sprinkled away. I used a generous amount of cinnamon, a few sprinkles of nutmeg, and a few sprinkles of ground cloves. The finished product, little did I know at this point, would turn out to taste like a homebaked apple pie!
You need to add some liquid to your apples to get them cooking. The average amount from what I read is between 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid. Some use water, some use apple cider. I had some orange-pineapple-apple juice in the fridge, so I used 1/2 cup of that diluted with 1/2 cup water. Simply pour the liquid over your apples, cover your pot, and bring to a boil. After the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the apples begin to break apart on their own. This step took approximately 30 minutes for my batch. (As you can see, if you leave the skins on your apples, they will "slough" off on their own. You can take the time to fish them out with kitchen tongs, tweezers, your fingers...whatever works for you. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, next time I will peel my apples first. It got real old real fast picking out all those skins!).
While my apples were cooking, I washed and dried the jars I was going to use for the applesauce. You will notice that some of them are not regular "canning jars". I am not going to be storing this batch long, since it was a trial batch and it didn't make a large amount, it will get eaten before it goes bad. If you will be canning your applesauce to store for a longer period of time, prepare your jars and lids as you usually would when you put up food.
When your apples are done, you can either use a potato masher for chunky applesauce or a food mill to create a less chunky applesauce. I just so happened to remember I had this antique food mill in the hall closet and it worked amazingly well to process my applesauce tonight!
Doesn't that look delicious? You wouldn't believe how good it smelled...and tasted!!! As you can see, this food mill produced a smoother sauce, more like store-bought applesauce.
After a few test tastes, I poured my newly made applesauce into my prepared jars. (Again, if you are canning a large amount to store for a longer period of time, continue from here as you normally would, using a commercial canner or water bath to seal your jars. I simply put mine in the fridge since this made such a small batch).
And, here you go:
Homemade Apple Pie Applesauce
This was so very easy to make, literally 2 ingredients (plus spices). No added sugar, no preservatives, no colorings, nothing. Just apples. And it tastes (especially hot off the stove) just like homemade apple pie. Just like Grandma used to bake.
Stay tuned for my next installment of A Simpler Road: Homemade Yogurt! (it's currently incubating as I type this!)