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Homemade Applesauce

September is the season of apples. Whether you “give an apple to the teacher” or you “eat an apple a day to keep the doctor away”, there is no better way to enjoy the season than with apples. The crunch of this season’s favorite apple is worth savoring, of course. But why not cook some apples and make fresh applesauce? It is very easy, does not take a long time and tastes so good. This can also be a fun activity to do with kids as a first cooking lesson in the kitchen. At the same time it is a nutritious experience.

Selecting the Best Apples for Applesauce

  • Choose apples at the peak of the apple season, September and October.
  • The size of an apple does not indicate that it is ripe. Some varieties are smaller than others. 
  • Look for apples that are not bruised and are free of defects. 
  • The best apples to use for applesauce are tart cooking apples such as: Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Red Rome, Macintosh. Haralson, Jonathan, and Greening.

Let’s Make Applesauce

First, select 3 to 4 pounds of peeled, cored and quartered apples. You can cook apple sauce without peeling the apples but you will then need to use a food mill to remove the peel from the cooked applesauce mixture. A food mill is not a common piece of cooking equipment today in a kitchen and so if apples are peeled the step using a food mill can be eliminated.

Either use a corer, a small handle tool that is used to remove the center core of an apple or another piece of fruit, can be used or cut the apple in half and remove the core with a small knife.

Cut the peeled and cored apple into quarters and place into a 4-quart saucepan.

Add a cinnamon stick to the apples in the pan. You will cook the cinnamon stick with the apples. The cinnamon stick will be easy to remove after the applesauce is cooked.

Also, add ¼ cup dark brown sugar or light brown sugar. It is your choice but I think the apple sauce has a nice caramelized sugar taste if I have used dark brown sugar. In addition add ¼ cup granulated white sugar. Add 1 cup water or apple juice and ½ teaspoon salt.

Last but not least add 4 tablespoons lemon juice to the apple mixture in the saucepan. The addition of the lemon juice brightens the flavor of the apples and balances the sweetness.

Cook the apples covered over medium-high heat the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat to Low and continue cooking until apples are softened. (20 to 30 minutes).

Then remove the saucepan from the heat. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Mash the cooked apples using a potato masher. The texture of the applesauce will be slightly chunky. If you prefer a smoother mixture, blend using an electric blender. Be careful when spooning the cooked apples into the blender container since the apples are very hot and can splatter.

The applesauce is ready to eat! Or, cover and refrigerate the applesauce until you are ready to serve the applesauce.

The applesauce can be also placed into small freezer containers. Cover and freeze the apple sauce up to a one year. This is a great idea for a lunchbox. By lunchtime the applesauce will have thawed and at the same time will keep other items in the lunch cool.


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• Comments •

For a healthier version, it really is not necessary to peel the apples - you don't need to use a food mill either. After they are cooked, pop them in the blender and the peels become undetectable in the applesauce. Your applesauce will have a slightly different texture, but as long as I have been making it this way, no one has ever guessed that the peels were left on the apples. Plus if you use red apples, (I always use Jonathan), then you will have a nice pink color.

Posted Oct 09 2013 by Missy
Test Kitchen Comment


Excellent! Thanks for sharing!
Posted October 11, 2013

Thank you for sharing this recipe!

Posted Sep 29 2011 by Martha
Test Kitchen Comment


Thanks, I appreciate that. Hope you try this recipe and are able to enjoy the wonderful apples of the season.
Posted September 29, 2011

This is a good basic recipe for applesauce. I like to add some cinnamon flavored red hots (candy) to a big pot of applesauce, it gives the finished product a lovely rosy color, I also prefer all brown sugar to part brown and part white. My grandkids love my applesauce so I freeze plenty to have all year until our next apple picking trip.

Posted Sep 29 2011 by Betty M.
Test Kitchen Comment


Betty, thanks for the memory. Adding red hots to applesauce is just what we did as kids. I even do it today because I myself like it that way. These are great memories!
Posted September 29, 2011

Can u add other fruits like mangos or pineapples?

Posted Sep 22 2011 by Nicole H.
Test Kitchen Comment


We have not tested adding a variety of other fruits to this basic applesauce recipe. I would caution you about adding fresh pineapple to the applesauce because it could change the consistency. You might instead try adding some drained canned pineapple to the cooked apple mixture. It is difficult to recommend adding mangoes since we have not tested that. Has anyone else successfully added various fruits to homemade applesauce.
Posted October 03, 2011

This recipe is perfect! I used Paula Red apples, apple juice and light brown sugar. The family ate it so quickly I decided to make more and freeze it.

Posted Sep 17 2011 by Moogie
Test Kitchen Comment


That is so exciting!! It is a great way to preserve the flavors of the season! You make me want to go to the apple orchard and get more apples.
Posted September 18, 2011

this recipe would be the same for canning???

Posted Sep 15 2011 by Lissa H.
Test Kitchen Comment


Yes, you would make the applesauce as described in the recipe. Then put the hot applesauce into canning jars and process using guidelines for canning applesauce. Check the internet for canning and processing guidelines.What a great way to preserve the flavors of the season with applesauce!
Posted September 16, 2011

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