What's not to love about fall? Especially when it's apple season! I just love this time of year when so many varieties of apples start showing up at farmers markets and the local apple farms let you pick baskets of your own. We had apple trees in our front yard growing up. I find it interesting that no one remembers what kind of apples they were (maybe Braeburn?) but we all remember they were the right amount of tart and sweet and great for baking.
Sometimes, I like having something a little sweet around to grab for an afternoon snack or in the evenings after dinner. Making homemade applesauce is just the thing to fit that craving. It's like eating the best part of an apple pie!
Applesauce is a great way to get fiber and Vitamin C in your diet and if you make it yourself, you can control the sugar to keep the calories down. Did you know applesauce can be used in baking? Just replace the fats in your quickbreads and other baked goods with applesauce. It adds a nice flavor and keeps everything moist.
I'm sharing my applesauce recipe that I've modified over the years. It's super easy and doesn't take much time. I started out pretty simple: just granny smith apples and a bit of cinnamon. Over time, I've decided I prefer sweeter apples like Fiji or even better, use a variety of apples and add a bit of sugar or honey and a lot of cinnamon. If I am using it for baking, I will back down on the sugar/cinnamon so it doesn't interfere with what I'm making. The key is to be creative to find the flavor combination you like best!
Note: To help with the recipe below, 1 pound of apples is generally equal to 4 small apples, 3 medium apples, or 2 large apples.
Cinnamon Spiced Applesauce
Makes 3 cups
3 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, cut into pieces
1 cup water
⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar
fresh lemon juice
½ or so teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt to taste
1. Combine apples, water and brown sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are very tender, about 25 minutes.
2. Uncover and simmer until almost all liquid in saucepan has evaporated, about 6-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, cinnamon, and small pinch of salt. Cool.
3. Using fork, mash apple mixture until coarse and chunky. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until cold.
Applesauce will keep in the fridge for about 7 days. It can be put in the freezer as well for up to 2 months.