My first batch of applesauce was intended to be baby food. The key word here is intended. I whipped up a batch based off of some light reading from a First Meals cookbook I bought at a used bookstore and skimming various recipes on the internet. I felt it was hypocritical to feed my child food I wasn’t even willing to taste, so after I had pureed the cooked apples I took an obligatory bite which led to another and another. Finally, I dished up two bowls and alternated between spoon feeding my son and myself. I had never really cared for applesauce, but this was good.
I’ve found that the key to good applesauce is to use delicious apples. If the apples already taste good, they won’t require any added sugar to make them taste appetizing. I’m a fan of Braeburns, Galas, and Fujis.* Honeycrisp would also be delicious, but the few that make it into our house disappear quickly. Even though I use high quality apples, I generally only make applesauce from the ones that are bruised or blemished. Applesauce is a great way to not waste apples that might not be chosen for lunch, but still have a lot of flavor to offer. One of the best things about this recipe is you can use as many or as few apples as you want. I’ve made small batches with only a two or three apples and large batches with ten to twelve.
Naturally Sweet Applesauce
- Peel, core, and slice the apples into approximately 1″ long cubes.
- Put the cut up apples into a saucepan and fill with water until the top layer of apples is halfway submerged when pressed to the bottom of the pan (i.e. not floating).
- Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Keep an eye on the pan and if all the water evaporates, add another 1/4 C. Cook until the apples are fork tender (when pierced, the utensil slides in easily). This usually takes about 10-15 minutes for small to medium sized batches. Another test is to smash an apple against the side of the pan with a fork. If the apple easily oozes through the tines, it’s done.
- If there is water remaining in the pan, drain it off. Don’t worry about the apples themselves being perfectly dry. A little moisture is good.
- Sprinkle the apples with nutmeg and cinnamon. Puree with a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.
- Puree to desired consistency and taste to see if more nutmeg or cinnamon is needed. Store in the fridge.
*I tend to buy organic apples since they currently top the dirty dozen, but non-organic apples work just fine.