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.