When life gives you apples way too many apples what can you do? You make applesauce of course!
In last week's Comfort & Joy column I shared that I had gotten carried away with all the wonderful apples available after a recent stop at a local orchard. In the past few weeks, I've made several apple pies, apple crisp, cheddar and apple soup, sauteéd apples, you name it. The other day we even stuffed a whole chicken with two heads of garlic, a couple sliced onions and a handful of quartered apples; it was delicious.
In spite of all that cooking, we still had a lot of apples left, and if I didn't know better, I would assume they were multiplying on their own.
There was only one thing left to make.
We peeled and cored most of the apples, except for a few Jonaprince apples with nice, bright red skins. Those we left on for a little color. In addition to the Jonaprince, the other apples I used were mostly Macouns, with a few leftover Jonagolds my daughter had given me, that remained after she made a couple batches of apple jelly.
My husband, Jim, did most of the work here, bless his little heart. He scrubbed, peeled and stirred, and most importantly, followed my instructions.
The apples were loaded into a large pot with a bit of water, some spices, and after about an hour, the house smelled wonderful.
We could stop there and enjoy a chunkier version of applesauce, but instead, we let it cool overnight in the refrigerator (5 a.m. comes early in my house); and the next day, I processed it through my hand-crank food mill to give it a smoother texture.
Making homemade applesauce is one of the simplest things you can do. I used to make it all the time when my children were young, but never in large batches silly me! For babies or young children, you may not even want to sweeten it, or at least you can control the amount of sugar you add, and thereby, monitor the amount of sugar your children are ingesting.
You can make the applesauce as sweet or as tart as you wish. You can also add more flavor by adding cinnamon or nutmeg.
Warning: Once you've made and tasted homemade applesauce, it's going to be very hard to enjoy the kind you eat from a jar.
For more Comfort & Joy recipes, go to www.tnonline.com/lifestyle/comfort-and-joy.
8 pounds of apples (Use a good cooking apple, such as McIntosh, Macouns, Jonathans or Granny Smiths.)
One-half to 1 cup water
One-quarter cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Peel and core all of the apples. (You may want to leave the skin on to give the applesauce a "pinker" finished color.)
Put apples into a large stockpot and add one-half cup of water, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Cook on low, stirring frequently for 45 minutes to an hour. If the apples start to stick to the bottom of the pot, add a little more water.
After about 45 minutes or so, and the apples have cooked down and are soft and tender, remove from heat. Allow to cool.
If desired, you may wish to process the apples through a food mill to remove all the lumps and any skin.
Applesauce freezes well. Since it will not keep as long in the refrigerator as jarred applesauce, package it in small freezer containers and only take out as much as you will eat in a day or two.