I know, it’s a simple thing, applesauce. But it is so darn delicious. Applesauce lets the pure flavor of the fruit really stand out. And there is nothing like homemade! You just can’t get that taste out of jar. Plus, it is easy, requires few ingredients and doesn’t take all that long. Unless you want it to. It’s one of those things that you can let go in a slow cooker if you really want to, to fill the whole house with the smell of it’s goodness. I prefer the stove-top method as it caters more to the side of me that demands instant gratification.
I made one batch of this applesauce and cooked the apples in two separate pans so that I could make two different types. One batch was your traditional cinnamon-applesauce and the second one I made was Cranberry Cinnamon applesauce. YUM! The cranberries give it such a pretty color and a little tart kick that I love. I used frozen cranberries- there is no need to thaw them or chop them, they will cook down with the apples. A little orange zest is always nice with cranberry so that can be added to this if desired.
To really emphasize the apple flavor of this, cook with cider instead of plain old water! If you don’t want a very sweet applesauce you may want to cut back on the added sugar if using cider.
I based this recipe off of the one found in America’s Test Kitchen: Family Cookbook.
- 4 pounds of Jonagold, Pink Lady, Jonathan or Macoun apples (8-12), peeled, cored and cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes (if you use a sweeter apple like a Gala or Honeycrisp, cut back on added sugar, unless you like a very sweet applesauce)
- 1 cup Apple Cider, or water, extra as needed
- ½ cup granulated white sugar, plus extra as needed
- Pinch of fine kosher or sea salt
- 2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
- ½ cup frozen or fresh cranberries (optional)
- Zest of ½ an orange (optional- goes well with the cranberry)
- Combine all ingredients in a large dutch oven
- Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples have broken down, 15-20 minutes, adding more water if needed to prevent scorching
- Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to further break down the fruit or use a potato masher. There will still be some chunks. For an even smoother texture, process through a food mill (Note: if you plan to do this peeling the apples is not necessary as the food mill will separate out the peel for you)
- Remove cinnamon sticks
- Taste for seasoning, add more sugar if desired
- Add water if a thinner consistency is desired
- Serve warm or cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator