Fairly often during the winter months I like to make homemade applesauce. The fresh apples from the nearby orchards aren’t available any longer, so as a substitute I make applesauce with what’s available at the supermarket, and put it in my husband’s lunch.
Now to make applesauce like this I don’t want to purchase premium apples just to cut them up, cook and mash them. So I keep an eye out for apples that have been reduced in price and placed on the shelves where slightly bruised but still useful produce is displayed. Many times there will be a package of 4 – 6 apples at a very good price. And also these packages may contain two or three different kinds of apples. Just what I want for my applesauce, because for my taste, the most flavorful applesauce, like the most flavorful cider, is made from a variety of apples.
I call this “rustic” applesauce because I mash the apples to create a chunky sauce. You can certainly make it smooth, if that’s your preference, by processing all or part of it in a processor or blender. Lastly I tint the applesauce pink with my “secret” ingredient: cinnamon heart candy.
Stay with me here as I show you how to make it.
YIELD: about 6 cups
Prepare the apples: Collect about 8 medium to large apples, a mixed variety is good. Keep in mind that not all apples cook-out the same. Some retain their form, while others mash easily; so use apples that are compatible. Two kinds I like to mix are Empires and Cortlands. Generally, if they are good pie-apples, they will make good applesauce, too. Peel, core and slice the apples into a large saucepan. Add a very small amount of water to the pan, just enough to cover the bottom.
Cook the apples: Over medium heat start the apples cooking. As the water in the bottom of the pan starts to simmer, turn the heat to low and allow the apples to cook slowly, uncovered, stirring occasionally, so they don’t stick to the bottom. They will produce more juice as they cook, so don’t cover the pan or it will become too juicy. This takes anywhere from 20 – 30 minutes, depending on kinds of apples and how thick you cut them.
Making the sauce: When the apples are very tender ( any maybe falling apart, or becoming “saucy”), remove from the heat. Mash to desired consistency with a fork or potato masher.
Flavoring and tinting: While the sauce is still very hot, add in about 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon hearts red candies.
Stir in and as they melt they will flavor the sauce and tint it pink. Now, taste and adjust flavor by adding some sugar; 1-2 Tablespoons, and ground cinnamon to taste. A pinch of salt will bring out the flavors or a splash of lemon juice will also brighten it up.
Do yourself a favor and give it a try. It’s so much better than the bland, smooth stuff you buy in a jar!. This applesauce is also a very good accompaniment to pork entrees, or serve with potato pancakes.
SOURCE: A Carolyn Original