Monday, October 18, 2010


Yesterday was our annual applesauce making day. My friend, Lee, who lives near The Big Apple in Wretham, MA, buys the apples and then we manage to carve out a Sunday in October to make the sauce. It's become part of the rhythm of our lives. Both our families, and several friends, are loyal fans, so we put up about four cases (quart jars) each year. I know a quart seems a tad large, but I have a few friends that can actually put away an entire quart in just one sitting. Yes, it's that good. So what's the secret? The apples, of course. We use Macouns and swear by them. The first few years we purchased the choice apples but then realized that they sell seconds, or not quite perfect apples, for a fraction of the cost. It really doesn't matter if the apples have a few blemishes as you cook them until they're mush anyway.

Homemade Applesauce
15-20 Macoun Apples (depends on size, but enough for fill a 12 qt stock pot)
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
3 tbsp cinnamon
1.5 cups of water

Yield: Approximately 7 quarts.
Wash the apples, cut them in half and place in your stock pot. You can fill them right to the top as they will reduce by quite a lot.

Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat, cover the pan, and allow them to simmer. As the apples start to soften, gently mix them up every 5-10 minutes. Keep covered while cooking. It should take about an hour for them to cook down completely. This is how you want them to look:

Using a food mill, placed over a sturdy container, ladle the apple mixture into the mill and turn until you have just the skin and seeds left in the bottom of the food mill. You'll want to rinse out your food mill after about every three batches that you process. Be sure to use a rubber spatula to scrap off all the remnants that stick to the bottom of the food mill.  This is the pulp that adds both flavor and texture to the applesauce.

This is what it looks like after it's processed through the food mill:

Once your container is full you can pour the applesauce into the clean ball jars. Be sure to mix the sauce well beforehand to ensure that the pulp is evenly distributed throughout the sauce.

Fill the jars 1/2 inch from the top. Place the lids and bands on the jars and process in a water bath for 15 minutes. There are directions for processing included with the ball jars, or check here.

While this is a bit time consuming, it's well worth it. We enjoy applesauce throughout the fall and winter months. It's comfort food, for sure, at our house. Once you try it you'll be hard pressed to go back to the store bought varieties. Enjoy!

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