Monday, July 13, 2015

Chunky Applesauce

My mom has been making this applesauce for a good 45 years or so.  Back when she started, my great-grandfather gave her a crate of apples every year that he'd grown, and they had to be dealt with before they turned, so applesauce was a great project.  She doesn't use a recipe, so she sent me basic instructions for her method, which I have used repeatedly and turned into this recipe.  Read all notes before beginning.
  • 3 lbs apples (about 8 medium)
  • 1 1/2 C apple juice
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.  Core, quarter, and peel apples, cut them into 1 inch chunks.
2.  In large saucepan, combine apple juice and cut-up apples.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
3.  Using sugar and cinnamon, sweeten to taste.  Be careful!  These apples and the liquid they're sitting in can burn your tongue.  Be aware that the apples will taste sweeter when hot, so for a very sweet applesauce it may be necessary to over-sweeten them at this stage.
4.  Return to a boil for about 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Smash with potato masher to desired consistency.  (For creamy applesauce, press through a ricer or food mill instead)

Applesauce is ready to eat at this point, or it can be preserved in a boiling water canner as follows.

5.  Carefully ladle hot applesauce into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove all bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids.  Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner at sea level, increasing processing time by 1 minute for each 1,000 feet of additional altitude.

Yield: 5 half-pints

Robyn's notes: I've used several different varieties of apples, but have to say that my favourite batches have been made with two varieties together.  Because of what's available at my market this has generally been Fuji and Golden Delicious.  I have been told that the best varieties for applesauce are those as well as Braeburn, Cortland, Crispin, McIntosh, Liberty, and Rome.  Use a saucepan large enough that the liquid and apple chunks combined in it fill no more than 30-50% of the interior.  While simmering, the apples will splatter and bubble up the sides, so they need a lot of room in the pan.  The juice should be enough to cover the bottom of your pan by 1/2 inch.  A larger saucepan may need more than I use.  Water can be used in place of apple juice, but the flavor will not be as deep and more sugar will need to be used.  I always use 100% not-from-concentrate apple juice.  While I'm a fan of the assembly-line method of doing practically anything, I don't use it for prepping the apples.  As soon as they are exposed to the air they will start to oxidize, but this will be slowed when they're in the juice.  So I do each apple as quickly as possible without risking my fingers and move on to the next.  I have never measured the cinnamon, instead just dashing it in.  I quite like the taste of cinnamon in my applesauce, so if I use a bit too much I'm ok with it, it just makes for darker applesauce. 

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently