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Growing up, homemade applesauce making was an event. Mom, usually with the help of Grandma, always had apples laying out in the basement for a few days before making applesauce. She always did this because ripe apples make the process quick and give the most flavor. And when I say “the basement,” I mean the entire basement: we would make enough to last for the whole year. I don’t really remember the exact details, but I think that translates to roughly three to four five-gallon buckets piled full of apples.
When I was younger I would just watch, running in and out of the kitchen trying to grab a taste while enjoying the hum of Mom and Grandma talking while cooking apples. As I grew older I started to help. First we would wash the apples – Grandma always wanted to wash them at least two times. Then we’d quarter them, cut out the cores, chop them into smaller pieces and cook them in large kettles.
Mom loves thick applesauce, and growing up under her tutelage, I, of course, do too! Since it’s the preferred style, my method results in really thick applesauce. By cooking the apples dry and continually pouring off the water that cooks out, you’re left with rich, thick applesauce full of flavor. But be warned: store-bought applesauce holds nothing over homemade, as it’s usually runny and lacks flavor. So once you make this recipe, you may never be able to buy the stuff from the store again.
My mom was always partial to making her homemade applesauce using Yellow Transparent apples, but they’re really hard to find. Don’t worry: no specific type of apple has to be used to make a delicious applesauce. And unlike my upbringing, you don’t need bucketfuls either. During the fall, orchards harvest exceptional varieties of apples, and I love to use all different kinds to make a small batch of applesauce.
Nothing could be better than using this in a delicious cake (coming next week!) or eating it as a slushy, frozen treat during the middle of winter.
You’ll love these other apple recipes:
Watch how to make this homemade applesauce
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- 8 lb ripe apples
- Cut the apples into quarters and remove the core and seeds. Cut the apples into smaller pieces and place in a 10-quart nonstick stock pot. The nonstick stock pot will ensure the applesauce doesn’t scorch as the extra liquid is poured off.
- Place the stockpot over medium low heat. Make sure to cook the apples over low heat to slowly draw the liquid out of the apples but not scorch them. Depending on the variety of apple, they will cook at different rates. Cover with a lid and slowly cook, stirring every 10 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, pour off any liquid that has formed at the bottom of the stockpot. Continue to stir, cook and pour off liquid until the apples have fully broken down to a mushy consistency. Every 10 minutes, pour off liquid until no more liquid remains. To quicken the process, after 45 minutes to an hour, the apples can be mashed with a potato masher.
- Once the apples have all broken down and all liquid has been released (usually about 2 cups), remove the sauce from the heat. Pass the applesauce through a food mill fitted with the finest plate.
- Let the sauce cool to room temperature and taste. If desired, sugar can be added.
- Place in airtight containers and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.