The Easiest Way to Make Applesauce at Home
We don’t eat a ton of applesauce in our house, but when we do, I make it from scratch. This never seemed to be a very big deal for me, until I was talking to a friend on the phone and mentioned I had a batch of applesauce on the go, and she was immediately way more impressed than she should have been. She spoke of remembering her grandmother making batches of applesauce and how laborious a process it was, and how much time it took, and the special equipment needed and how egregious the cleanup. All of this was shocking to me, since my applesauce involves none of that.
Which made me think that perhaps there are other people who like applesauce and might want to be able to make it themselves without feeling as if one needs to become a pioneer housewife in order to do it.
Let’s be clear, we are not talking about canning or preserving applesauce for a long cold winter. This is how to make small-batch applesauce for immediate eating. It frankly takes less time and effort than it would take to drive to the store and buy a jar, with much better results. Even better, you have total control over the flavor and sugar level of your applesauce, and no preservatives. Want varietal applesauce? Buy the apple you like best and make it from all Honeycrisp or Fuji or Galas. Want it organic? Buy organic apples. Like yours a bit on the sweet side? Add any sweetener you prefer from agave syrup to date sugar to plain old granulated. Like it more natural, don’t add any sugar at all. Cinnamon does not go amiss here, neither would other spices like allspice, clove, or nutmeg, and I often use apple pie spice for obvious reasons. Try a bit of fresh ginger for heat or do a blend of apples and pears.
Watch: How to Make Instant Pot Apple Sauce
This is more of a process than a recipe, which makes it even better, because once you do it once you’ll have it down. Get your apples. I usually use four large, or five or six medium to small, for one batch, which will make somewhere around a quart of finished applesauce. But make as small or large a batch as you like. Peel your apples, cut the flesh off the core, and coarsely chop. Put your chopped apples into a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. For every four apples, add a pinch of kosher salt and about a half-teaspoon of cinnamon or other spice, and about a half cup of water. If you are planning on adding any sweetener, taste your apples first. I like mine with no added sugar, but this is about your personal taste. If your apples are really sweet, don’t add till after cooking. If you are using apples with more tart flavors, add about one teaspoon of sugar or other sweetener per apple. You can always add more later.
Cover the pot and put over low heat. Cook for about ten minutes, then check your apples. Some are naturally juicier than others, but the salt should be helping bring out the juices of even the firmest apples. Give them a good stir and check consistency. You are looking for apples that can be easily mushed with the back of a spoon or fork, which could take between ten and twenty minutes depending on the amount and type of apple.
Once the apples are cooked super tender, you have two choices. If you like a chunkier applesauce, use a potato masher to smash them up right in the pan. If you like it velvety smooth, like I do, transfer to your blender or food processor and blitz them up. Taste for seasoning and add a little more sweet, salt or spice as you choose.
Yeah, I know. No food mills, no special crank peelers, no giant batches, no canning. Just twenty minutes to awesome homemade applesauce.