4 Steps to an Easy, Homemade Classic
When I was growing up we had a crab apple tree that dropped golf ball sized fruit bombs on our driveway and front porch. In the side yard two gangly apple trees struggled to survive after yearly assaults by hungry elk and deer coming down from the snow-covered hillside. It was my job to climb the trees and shake the remaining fruit free from the branches, which I collected by the basket-full.
During apple season, my grandmother would arrive with her own bounty of apples collected from the run-down orchard she visited religiously this time of year. She and my mother would spend days in the kitchen simmering apples down to applesauce, apple butter and a variety of apple chutneys. I always ate more applesauce than a small belly should, but the flavors of each fresh batch were always different (cinnamon, clove, cardamom, lemon, jalapeno, mint, sage, thyme, chunky and smooth), and begged for taste testers.
In those few days, we would create enough applesauce to send with me in school lunches and summertime snacks for the entire year. Not to mention the additional jars my mother sent to family and friends during the holidays, and several more to keep on the pantry shelves for use throughout the year.
The simplicity of it all made perfect sense; preserve what is abundant now and enjoy it for the rest of the year. The final product was always enjoyed, nothing went to waste and no preservatives, sugar, artificial flavorings were required. My “don’t eat anything you don’t grow, harvest or make yourself” grandmother approved, and I willingly ate every last bite, year after year.
Making homemade applesauce is an easy way to bring family together, take advantage of seasonally abundant and locally grown foods, provide healthy homemade snacks for the whole family, and have fun in the kitchen creating something with your own two hands – just the way you like it.
Make your own homemade applesauce in just 4 easy steps. Here is how to get started.
1. Start collecting apples – you will need about 15-20 lbs (look for this year’s crop in your upcoming farm-to-table box and in Green Grocery, or ask for 2nd’s or bundle deals at your local farmers market. Also, City Fruit is a great organization that harvests extra fruit from neighborhood trees and volunteers can take home as much as they can make use of!
2. Wash core and cut the apples into small chunks (leave the skin on – this is where a lot of the fiber and nutrients are)
Put apples in a large pot with about ½ cup water and the juice of 3 lemons. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir occasionally until soft (you can add cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom or any other spices and flavorings you want at this point). Remove from heat and let cool.
4. Freeze it, jar it, eat it or share with friends and family. Applesauce will keep for 6 months in the freezer, up to a year when jarred and sealed, and up to a month in the fridge in an airtight container.