How to make applesauce

My flirtation with homemade applesauce has become an obsession. I make batches all the time now. It’s just so easy and the results are always so tasty. Besides, you can add different ingredients to come up with your own mix.

I start with firm, tart apples, though to be honest, I’ll often use whatever’s going soft on the counter. You can buy a big 10 lb bag at the farmers’ market or start with just four or five apples. It’s really up to you.

You need to core out the apples. I also peel them, though some recipes say you don’t need to do that. Then cut them into even-sized chunks.

Put the apple chunks in a pot and add enough water to cover the bottom. I always add too much water and have to boil it off at the end.

You can add sugar and cinnamon, though I don’t. I find the applesauce tastes too much like pie filling this way.

Cover the pot and adjust the burner to medium heat. Set the timer for 10 minutes, though this is more of a reminder to check on the apples. There’s no exact moment when they’re done. You simply want the apples to turn soft enough to mash.

Take the pot off the burner and allow to cool. Then use a potato masher on the apples. If you like your applesauce kind of lumpy, don’t mash too much. I find 4 to 6 medium apples will fill 2 regular (500ml) Mason jars.

I’ve made batches with cranberries, pears and plums, and they all turned out great. The apple-pear combo is popular in my house, though you can’t beat the purity of just apples.

TIP: When using cranberries, put them in the pot first and wait for them to pop, then add the apples. The apple-cranberry combo is pretty tart, so you may want to add a bit of sugar. Or just drizzle a little maple syrup on it when serving.

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