Gettin’ saucy with apples
I came home from the market with a bushel of apples. They were Molly Delicious. Ripe, juicy and destined to be classified as seconds or not perfect. It could also mean overly ripe or spotted or bruised. Seconds are ideal for making applesauce. Outer beauty doesn’t really matter when you’re going to smash them up anyway!
Money-saving tip: When making applesauce or pie filling, ask your produce supplier if they have seconds for sale. Once removed of their skins, you’ll find the apple inside to be just fine. And if blemishes bother you, simply slice off the bruised portion.
To begin, you’ll need apples, of course, and these two items: a food mill and an apple corer/divider. Now, you don’t HAVE to have these two items. And some people have even fancier tools to make applesauce. This is what I use, and it makes the job pretty simple.
One thing I want to make clear right away. You do not have to peel the apples.
Watch … you’ll see why.
The first step is to wash the apples.
Center the hole of your corer/divider tool over the stem and core area, then push down. Discard the core and place your apple slices in a stock pot. Again … you do not have to remove the skins.
Put about an inch or so of water in your stock pot.
When the pot is full of apples sections, cover and place over high heat. When the water begins to boil (you’ll here it bubbling away), reduce heat to medium-low and allow apples to cook down until they’re tender and mushy, about 15-20 minutes. Note: If you enjoy chunky applesauce, cut cook time in half.
Here’s a tip: If you happen to have some fresh apple cider, use it intsead of water in your stock pot. The cider will be naturally sweet and you won’t need to add much, if any, sugar to your sauce!
Using a slotted spoon to drain away excess liquid, spoon apples into a food mill that is situated over a large bowl. Then crank away until all that’s left in the mill are skins, chunks of the core and seeds.
Lift food mill from bowl and admire the steaming applesauce you’ve just made! Scrape and dump the remains of the apple into another bowl. If you have chickens (or other livestock for that matter!), feed the byproducts to them. They’ll enjoy the sweet flavor immensely.
Continue on in this manner until you have processed all of your apples.
Sweetening: When your bowl of applesauce is full, stir in sugar to taste. The Molly Delicious apples I used are already very sweet, so I didn’t have to add much — about a 1/3 cup to four quarts of sauce.
I just add the sugar, stir and give it a taste test to determine if it’s sweet enough for my liking.
We love cinnamon in our sauce. Again, add until your taste buds are pleased. My grandma sometimes added cinnamon candies (Red-Hots) to her applesauce. It turned the stuff a beautiful rosy-pink color and gave it a sweet, cinnamon taste. Experiment … plain old unsweetened applesauce is good, too!
The final step: Spoon sauce into prepared plastic freezer containers or freezer jars. Leave lids askew until the applesauce is cool. Then seal and store in the freezer. A bushel of apples yields about 12-14 quarts of applesauce.