Boss of the Sauce: Fast and Easy Homemade Applesauce

Who doesn’t like apples? Definitely not Americans.

Apples are the second most consumed fruit in the country, just behind oranges. In 2012, Americans consumed an average of 44 pounds of the fruit in all forms per person. And one of the favorite and more versatile of its forms? Applesauce.

Applesauce is a puree made from peeled or unpeeled apples mixed with a variety of spices, flavorings and sweeteners. It goes surprisingly well with a lot of other food, too.

In Sweden and England, it’s used as a condiment for roast pork. Germans garnish their potato pancakes with it. The Dutch have been known to eat it together with fries. The French eat it at room temperature for dessert. So does the Portuguese.  And in the good old United States, it’s a popular accompaniment, stand-alone dessert or ingredient in apple sauce cake.

Homemade Applesauce

It’s also a popular baby food.

But while commercial applesauce is inexpensive, you’d be surprised to learn that many reputable companies and brands have been found to replace real food with water and thickening products. These adulterated products are therefore nutritionally inferior compared to those made with more fruit.

So why risk buying low quality applesauce when you can easily make one yourself?

How to Make Applesauce

Here’s a quick recipe to show you how to make applesauce quickly and easily. You’ll need: 6 pounds of apples, 1 cup apple juice (you can also use apple cider), juice of 1 lemon, ½ cup brown sugar, cinnamon.

  1. Peel the apples. Core them. And then slice them into 8 slices each.
  2. Throw the sliced apples into a pot and pour the apple juice in.
  3. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon.
  4. Add the brown sugar.
  5. Add cinnamon to taste.
  6. Stir the mixture over medium to medium-high heat. Then cover the pot. Let it cook for 25 minutes.

After cooking, the apples may be broken up but still mostly intact. They will, however, be soft and tender. You can then just use a potato masher to get chunky applesauce. Or you can opt to use a blender or food processor to get a smoother puree.

Word of warning, though: if you’re doing it off the pan, blend it in small batches. It will be hot. And you don’t want to risk spraying hot applesauce all over your kitchen.

Oh, by the way, if you want to produce a finer puree, you might want to get more acidic apples. A popular kind to use is the Bramley apple.

You can also skip the apple juice/cider and just use water. It’s really just there because some liquid helps things along. You can also choose to add more (or less) sugar. And adding nutmeg, maple syrup or butter is optional.

Basically, you can go crazy with your additional ingredients. You’re the boss of that applesauce so don’t hold back.

The nice thing about making home-made applesauce is it won’t even take you three-quarters of an hour to prepare and cook. The recipe above will yield 6-7 cups of applesauce.

Now let’s assume you won’t be eating all of them at once (let’s just be perfectly clear that you can if you want to, no judgment. Applesauce is good.) You’ll want to store them and keep ‘em fresh, right? And how can you do that?

Can them.

How to Can Applesauce

Luckily for you, canning applesauce is as easy as making applesauce.

Step 1: ladle the hot applesauce into your jars. Make sure you leave half an inch of head space. Take care to remove air bubbles and to wipe the rim before closing the lid. The band must be applied until the fit is fingertip tight.

Step 2: Process the jars in a pressure canner for 20 minutes.

Step 3: Remove the jars and cool.

And you’re done! You’ll just need to check the lids for seal after 24 hours or so. The lid shouldn’t flex up or down when pressed at the center. That tells you that the canning process was done well.

Well then. That’s it. You’ve made yourself some mighty tasty applesauce that seriously goes with anything. With steps this easy, don’t you just wonder why not more people make it too?

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