This is your secret recipe for applesauce because (here’s the secret) there is no true recipe for applesauce. If you get the right apples, you honestly can’t go wrong! Applesauce is super easy to make; especially if you use a Victorio Food Strainer and Sauce Maker to do the peeling, coring, and mashing for you. Read here to learn why you need one of these.
If you plan to can this stuff (which I highly recommend) 1 bushel of apples will render about 20 quarts of applesauce. Also, fyi, a paper grocery bag filled with apples is approximately ½ of a bushel. That information comes in handy if you’re picking your apples off the tree in your backyard. If you aren’t into canning, you can make a small batch of applesauce – just use 10-12 apples and get cooking!
Okay, here is what you need for your secret recipe:
- Wash and quarter your apples;
- Place them in a large pan with plenty of water and cook for 15-20 minutes. They should be the consistency of a ripe pear when they’re ready;
- Use your Victorio strainer to peel, core, and sauce the apples. Hey, I would never ask you to do anything I wouldn't do and I wouldn't peel and core them by hand. You can if you really want to, but you would need to make that part of Step 1;
- Taste your sauce – add sugar (white, raw, brown – your choice) to taste. If I need it, I start with ½ cup sugar and go from there. Golden Delicious apples usually need more sugar than McIntosh;
- Add cinnamon if you wish. I add about ½ Tablespoon – taste it – and go from there.
- Add 4T lemon juice (per quarter bushel) if you are using windfallen fruit and are canning. This increases the acidic level of your fruit to keep it fresh. Apples picked off the tree do not require lemon juice as they come by a higher acidic content naturally.
- Add an optional pinch of nutmeg just to make it interesting.
- Bottle and process.
Here are a few tips:
- Use McIntosh or Golden Delicious apples. These make the very best applesauce. The McIntosh is a sweeter apple and you may not even need sugar is you decide to use this apple. It’s in season in late September and early October. The Golden Delicious apple makes an applesauce that is a little tart. If you love a tart apple pie (not to be confused with an apple tart), this is the apple you want to use. If you prefer sweet applesauce, you can use golden delicious apples and simply add more sugar. It makes a very yummy sauce!
- Don’t waste your money on the perfectly shaped apples. You’re going to grind them up! This year I could choose between perfect, pretty Grade A apples ($39 for half a bushel) and less pretty Grade B apples ($9 for half a bushel). This can save you a ton of money!
- Use a Victorio Food Strainer to save yourself time, grief, and shriveled fingers. There is also another brand, Norpro, that costs about the same – or more – but doesn’t look like it has a lot of the features that I enjoy with my Victorio. They both sell for just under $50. If you like lumpy applesauce, pick up the Accessory Kit that contains the Salsa Maker screen. I just use the screen that comes with it originally and, if I want lumps, I hand mash a few apples and add them in to the mix.