My mother ate a lot of applesauce, mixing her crushed Centrum Silver vitamin into it. She could no longer home-can it as she had in my youth, or process it for freezing as she had in later years. One of my favorite treats when I came to my parents’ home for a visit, was warm homemade applesauce and Tillamook vanilla yogurt, made in Oregon. I tried to recreate that breakfast when I returned to my own home, but store-bought applesauce is subpar, at best.
Permanently back in my mother’s kitchen, I learned to make and can applesauce, using apples from the trees below our home and those from our neighbor’s orchard—from which I had picked an apple as I walked up the driveway to catch the school bus or to feed my horse the first time I lived here.
Now I add homemade granola and use plain Greek yogurt, but still Tillamook. Made in Oregon (on the land of the indigenous Tillamook and other native peoples, whom they acknowledge as those who came before and whose continued presence is important to their future), the Tillamook Cooperative uses sustainable production methods and just employment practices. And it’s darn good. You can find out if it’s sold in your neck of the woods here.
I tried many applesauce recipes before settling on a favorite. Here it is for you!
4 pounds apples (@10 large)
1 cup honey
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
First, I use apples off the trees. If multiple varieties are ripe at the same time, I mix them, which I read is a good thing. I ignore any instruction in a recipe that indicates what kind of apple to use. Use what you like, get a variety, in my opinion it doesn’t matter, though they will all taste different. If you have a favorite apple, you will probably like sauce made from it.
How many apples you need depends on the size. (It doesn’t have to be exactly four pounds.) My orchard apples are big, and it takes about 10 for one recipe.
How you process it depends on what equipment you have. I happen to have my mother’s ancient Foley Food Mill, which is a wonder. I roughly core the apples to cut down on grinding time, but don’t peel them. (If you want to make chunky sauce—or you don’t have a mill—you will need to core carefully and peel, unless you use transparent apples, the skin on them cooks down. You could also use a peeler/corer machine, which is pretty slick, but it only works with perfectly shaped apples, which homegrown are not.
Cut the apples in chunks and throw them in a large pot. Or a small pot if you are making a small batch. I use my large soup pot and double the recipe. You can add a little water to get them started cooking. Add more water if you need to, but apples have a lot of water in them, so be cautious.
Cook apples down to near sauce consistency, stirring frequently to keep from burning. If you are using a mill, it will smooth out chunks. If you peeled and cored, cook it to whatever consistency you want, or you could put it through a blender-type machine.
Return sauce to the clean pot, if you ran it through the mill, and add the honey, lemon juice, lemon peel, and cinnamon. Voila! Yummy applesauce.
For canning instructions: Google.