I’ll cop to the second item on Susan’s list of
excuses reasons for our silence: “New Baby.” That’s right. James and I made a cute little human, and thus, applesauce has returned to my life.
Even after years of not eating the stuff, I still can’t tolerate store-bought applesauce, because our mom always made it from scratch (and still does). Georgia would probably not know the difference (not YET anyway), but I enjoy hanging with her in the kitchen, she in her high chair banging wooden spoons on the tray and terrorizing the cats, and me in my apron, making ridiculous faces at her while coring four pounds of Galas.
Bonus benefits: it makes the house smell wonderful, and gives James hope that, after all these years, I am finally into cooking.
I have now made 5 or 6 batches of applesauce, all with different types of apples. Here is what I’ve learned:
- Jonagold apples produce the sweetest applesauce in the land.
- Pink Ladies aren’t bad either.
- Peeling apples sucks, so don’t do it (more on that later).
- Gala apples make boring applesauce.
- A food mill is something you should invest in.
- Adding sugar to this naturally sweet goodness is just overkill.
Essentially, after some experimentation, I’ve taken Martha’s Classic Applesauce and combined it with my mother’s recipe to produce something we’ll call “My Mother’s Applesauce with a Hint of Lemon.”
- 3 pounds of apples (Jonagold, Pink Lady, McIntosh, Braeburn are good. No green ones, please, unless you’re into that kind of thing.)
- A giant pot like a dutch oven
- 1/2 cup water
- Food mill or wire sieve
- Core and chop apples into one inch chunks, LEAVING THE SKINS ON.
- Throw chunks into dutch oven with water over medium heat. Make sure no seeds make it into the pot.
- Squeeze in some lemon. Watch out for those seeds, too.
- Simmer uncovered. When water boils, lower heat and let cook down, uncovered, until apples are soft and falling apart (about 45 minutes).
- Stir occasionally. Play with baby.
- Once apples are soft and falling apart, turn off heat and whip out the food mill. Place that thing over a bowl using the finest setting, and spoon in the apple chunks. This is how you remove the skins from the apples.
- This part is a little tedious, but you’ll get the hang of it. The payoff is the most beautiful, crimson colored applesauce that tastes and looks way better AND you don’t have to peel the apples.
- Add cinnamon to taste.
These photos are of a batch made with Galas, and it didn’t turn out as perfectly pink and sweet as I wanted it to. Don’t use Galas!