My family has been making applesauce for several generations. My maternal great-grandparents had several apple trees. They harvested apples then made applesauce and apple butter.
One of my Dad's cousins, Louise, had a Yellow Transparent apple tree in her yard. She would harvest the apples then make and freeze applesauce. Mom and Louise both froze applesauce in square pint containers. I can still see those containers stacked in the freezer. To me, store bought applesauce tastes nothing like homemade applesauce. It's homemade or nothing for me.
I am calling this recipe Lana's Applesauce in honor of my niece. She LOVES applesauce. We always have homemade applesauce for her at any of our family meals. The serving bowl is always placed near Lana. I think she could make a meal of applesauce! Lana may have inherited her love of applesauce from her grandparents. Mom and Dad would eat a pint or more with their dinner. Jeff and I like applesauce, but a serving to us is a few tablespoons, not a cup!
I used to can applesauce for myself, and freeze it for Mom. The last couple years, I froze it for myself instead of canning it. Freezing is faster than canning. 😉 I do like seeing the jars in my pantry, though. It's a beautiful sight!
I usually use at least two varieties of apples when making applesauce. The last applesauce I made, I used four apple varieties - Stayman Winesap, Mutsu, Cortland and Granny Smith. I like to use a blend of tart and sweet apples. Because of the tart and sweet blend, I don't add sugar to my applesauce.
In the past, I would get a couple bushels of apples and spend a long day making applesauce. Since Mom is no longer with us and Lana is moving a few states away, my applesauce will be mostly for just Jeff and me.
This year, I bought a peck of Mutsu, a peck of Stayman Winesap and 1/2 a dozen of Cortland apples from a local orchard. All of these apples were very large - much larger than what I see in the grocery store. I wanted some apples for eating and baking, so I didn't use the full pecks for the applesauce. There was some Granny Smith apples at home, so I used those for the applesauce, too. My last batch of applesauce was made from six Mutsu, six Stayman Winesap, three Cortland and three Granny Smith apples. I ended up with a little more than five quarts of applesauce. You can use less or more apples, depending on what yield you want.
I use a food mill attachment for my KitchenAid mixer to make my applesauce. Once the apples are soft, I put them through the food mill for smooth applesauce. The KitchenAid food grinder attachment discards almost all of the peeling. I will occasionally see a small sliver of peeling in my applesauce. It isn't an issue for me. If that concerns you, peel the apples before cooking. If you leave the peeling on the apples and you use a dark red apple, your applesauce could have a pink tint to it. Your applesauce color will be dependent on the apples that you choose.
I don't add sugar, or cinnamon to my applesauce. If you want a sweeter applesauce, or like cinnamon applesauce, you can add sugar or cinnamon after the applesauce is through the food mill.
If you prefer chunky applesauce, peel the apples before putting them in the pot and skip the food mill step.
Over the years, I have tried many different varieties of apples in my applesauce. Besides the apples mentioned above, I have used Early Gold, Jonathon and Gala apples as part of my apple blend. They all make good applesauce with different flavors.
Do you have a favorite apple blend for applesauce?
- 18 large Apples A variety of apples makes the best applesauce.
- 6 cups water About 1/2 inch of water to cover the bottom of your pot
- Wash your apples.
- Put water in a large pot so that there is about 1/2 inch of water.
- Turn the heat on to the pot so that the water boils.
- While the water is heating, cut the apples into chunks. Remove the core, seeds and stem from the apples. I leave the peeling on, but you can remove the peeling, if you prefer. I usually cut the chunks so they are no more than about 1.5 inches wide.
- As you cut an apple or two, add to your pot.
- Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium.
- Once all of the apples are in the pot, put the lid on, slightly ajar so that a little steam escapes.
- Let the apples simmer until soft. The amount of time it takes for the apples to get soft is dependent on how many apples you use and the level of heat used. I usually let the apples simmer for a couple hours, stirring every 15-20 minutes. The softer the apple, the easier it goes through the food mill, and the greater the yield. I have found that if the apple isn't completely soft, there is more waste.
- Once the apples are soft, run them through a food mill.
- Eat, refrigerate, freeze and/or can! Enjoy!