Every fall the farmers' markets are full of beautiful pesticide-free apples fresh from the orchard. Ever the in-season enthusiast, I buy them by the bagful with no plan for how to use them. As a result this quick and tasty applesauce recipe has become a standbye in our house from September to early November. We love it on our oatmeal in the morning or with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt.
Here in New England the dominant local apple is the McIntosh, which is very good for applesauce, pies and eating fresh. However, when I can find them I prefer Macouns, a cross between the McIntosh and the Jersey Black. Mcouns are a touch sweeter than the McIntosh, with a satisfying crispness -- but they're becoming less available because of challenges they present to orchard owners (they tend to fall from the tree prematurely and production is not as reliable year-to-year as some other varieties).
Picking the right apple for cooking can be confusing but fortunately almost all the apples generally available in the U. S. are good for applesauce, except for the Red Delicious. Check out this chart for more help choosing your apples.
Makes 20 half-cup servings.
This method makes a chunky-style applesauce. If you like yours on the smooth side use a potato masher to break up the chunks. Apple varieties and crop conditions differ so the sweetener and lemon quantities are approximate...adjust as necessary, to taste.Ingredients
- 4 to 4 1/2 lb cooking apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced thin (about 3 to 3 1/2 lb after prep)
- 1/2 lemon, quartered
- Cinnamon stick, 3 - 4"
- 6 tablespoons granulated no-calorie sweetener, such as Splenda
- 1/2 cup water
- Pinch salt
1. Place the apples, cinnamon, sweetener, water and salt in a pot over high heat. Squeeze the juice from the lemon sections into the pot through a sieve and then drop the rinds in. Discard the lemon seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon sections.
4. Break up any large apple chunks with a wooden spoon.
5. Add sweetener or lemon juice to adjust taste if necessary.
Serve hot, cold or at room temperature. Can be frozen for up to six months.