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Homemade Applesauce - A Quick and Easy Recipe

Updated on May 19, 2011

Just Like Grandma Used to Make

Growing up in Western New York State, the onset of fall meant apples. Apples were abundant in food stores and farmer's markets around town.

My great-Aunt and Uncle had two apple trees at their lake cottage and apple orchards dotted the countryside. On a Sunday afternoon drive in the country one could easily gather a bag or two of apples by simply stopping and picking up the fallen apples laying by the side of the road next to an orchard.

Picking up apples that had fallen on the shoulder of the road was OK however, it was not OK to climb the fence to gather the ones laying on the ground inside the orchard or, worse still, picking them from the trees.

Apples ready for picking.
Apples ready for picking. | Source

Have You Visited nearby farms in the Autumn to pick your own produce?

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Many farmers would set up a table in their front lawn and offer some of the apples for sale. Sometimes they used an honor system by simply placing a jar on the table for people to deposit their money and placed the apples in front of the table for people to take.

Sometimes the farmer or his wife would be at the table to sell but, more frequently, it was the farmer's children who ran this part of the operation as a way to make some extra money.

These stands, as well as larger commercial produce stands can still be found in the countryside along with farmer's markets where farmers are invited to come to a central location on weekends to sell their produce from stands or the back of their pickups.

There are also pick your own farms, like Apple Annie's in Wilcox, Arizona where urbanites can visit and pick their own fruit.

Of course, thanks to globalization and modern transportation, one can always find fresh apples in grocery stores year round.

Granny Smith apples in an orchard in Wilcox, Arizona
Granny Smith apples in an orchard in Wilcox, Arizona | Source
Picking apples in Arizona
Picking apples in Arizona | Source
Apple tree laden with ripe Granny Smith Apples
Apple tree laden with ripe Granny Smith Apples | Source

Applesauce Recipe

Homemade applesauce makes a great dish and here is a simple recipe.

Items needed:

Apples

Large pot with a lid in which to boil the apples

Small, sharp knife (a paring knife works best) with which to cut the apples

Sugar

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

In my case the quantity of apples used is based upon the capacity of my pot. I have found that if I start with between 3 and 4 pounds that is sufficient to fit into the pot after cutting and coring.

Wash the apples then cut them into quarters.

Remove the seeds, core and stems but you can leave the skins on.

Fill the pot about 1/3 with water and place apples in the pot.

Impatient fellow that I am, I place the pot on the stove and turn the heat to High. This brings the water to a boil quickly. I then turn the heat down to Low, cover and let the apples slow cook for 30 - 45 minutes.

You can tell when the sauce is done because the apples on the bottom will be reduced to a sauce and those on top will be very tender and easily crushed.

You must be careful not leave the stove on a high temperature for too long or you will burn the apples on the bottom of the pot and, by all means monitor the water level or you will also burn the apples on the bottom if the water evaporates (burning isOK except that it makes the pot very difficult to clean and gives your applesauce a charcoal taste).

It helps to stir the mixture occasionally but this is not mandatory. It also helps to monitor the water level while cooking. As the apples break down they will add to the water in the pot (this will vary depending upon the juiciness of the apple variety you use). If you use a lid on the pot, evaporation will be reduced.

Straining fresh applesauce with a Foley Grinder
Straining fresh applesauce with a Foley Grinder | Source

The quantity of water is important because it determines the consistency of the final product - too much liquid and your sauce will be more like a soup, too little liquid and it will have the consistency of overcooked oatmeal.

Once the sauce starts cooking, the only efficient way you can reduce the liquid content is to remove the lid from the pot, turn up the heat and let the excess water evaporate.

But, be careful not to burn the apples. When the apples start to break down, removing excess water by pouring it out results in the loss of applesauce as well.I find it is better to err on the side of less liquid than more (but this requires more watching) as you can always add water easier than you can remove it.

The Final Steps

Once the sauce is done, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool. I then use a Foley Food Mill/Grinder to strain the applesauce into a nice puree and remove the skins.

A Foley Food Mill/Grinder is an aluminum or stainless steel pot like device which has a handle and porous bottom (see picture above).

It takes a few minutes and some physical effort to strain the apples but the result is a smooth sauce with no skins. I have never tested the theory, but it seems to me to require less time and effort to run the sauce through the mill at the end rather than take the time to peel the apples at the beginning.

Of course you do not have to remove the skins but many people (including my children) prefer the sauce without skins. You can also peel the apples before cooking and then not use the food mill - this gives a nice chunky sauce, which I like but am too lazy to peel the apples beforehand.

The food mill will also remove the seeds, core and stems as well as skins. While I find thisunappetizing , you can simply wash and cut the apples in half or quarters (which both allows more apples to fit in the pot and as well as cook faster) and then remove all but the apples with the food mill.

My Mother gave me her Foley mill which I used for years until I lost one of the parts. After much searching I finally found a replacement Foley food mill at the L.L. Bean store in Maine while on vacation. You can now find them for sale on a number of sites on the Internet - just do a Google search on "Foley Food Mill/Grinder".

Add Sugar and Spice to Taste

The final step is to sweeten the sauce to taste with sugar - this will vary not only on personal taste but on the sweetness or tartness of the apple (sweet apples, such as the Red Delicious variety, require no sugar but also don't make as tasty a sauce as ones that are more tart).

I also like to add cinnamon (again to taste) which not only adds flavor but gives the sauce a rich brown color. My final ingredient is nutmeg which gives it a great taste. Depending upon preference, other spices can be substituted.

Place what you need in a covered food container and put the remainder in other food containers and freeze them for later use.

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    • profile image

      Mary 6 years ago

      Thank You!I had my apples peeled and quartered but could not remember recipe details. Wish I had the apple juice or apple cider I used last year, but will make do with water.

      Now I know, just add the sugar and spices after to taste.

      I like mine chunky, so it is worth the peeling for me.

      Get a Cutco peeler. They make the job so quick and easy!

    • Leenie Pooh profile image

      Leenie Pooh 7 years ago

      For those mornings when I'm craving fresh applesauce but have very little time I've come up with the following:

      Puree a peeled and cored apple with 1/4 banana. The banana helps the applesauce to "stand up". You can of course add all kinds of variations such as cinnamon, apple pie spice, lemon or orange zest ...

    • profile image

      Apple picker 7 years ago

      Love the flexibility in this recipe. I added some lemon zest and cinnamon before cooking. I did peel and slice the apples. At the end, I had a lot of water left so I cooked it down and now have a fabulous chunky applesauce. And, it's sugar-free. I used Jonagold apples, which we pick every year.

    • profile image

      Brenda 7 years ago

      I have been making applesauce using a Foley Food Mill for about 30 years. I do not peel or take out the seeds, core. Just slice and put the entire apple into a heavy stainless steel pot with little water, about 1/3 cup. Put a tight fitting lid on and turn to medium (3 on my stove). check after about 10 minutes and stir to get the cooked ones to the top and raw to bottom. Use Foley to push applesauce through into a pot, and throw away what is left in pot. Be sure to keep pushing the apples under the blade of food mill. Great applesauce with little work.

    • profile image

      daisy k. 7 years ago

      Yummy!!! Next step: go to grocery to buy the ingredients and make a delicious apple sauce!..

    • profile image

      Colleen 7 years ago

      VERY YUMMY! Thanks for sharing!

    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 7 years ago from UK

      Thanks for the recipe, I love roast pork and applesauce! I had never thought of adding spices and will certainly try your recipe next time I make it. Bookmarked for reference!

    • Chuck profile image
      Author

      Chuck Nugent 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Gary - this recipe makes approximately 16 cups of applesauce so you could get 16 servings of one cup each.

    • Rock$tarant profile image

      Rock$tarant 7 years ago

      Recipes are always good! I love learning any recipes new or old, and different ways to make stuff.. This was a good post.

    • profile image

      gary 7 years ago

      how many people does it serve?

    • profile image

      Rocky 7 years ago

      Very nice explained good recipes. I am interested to make Fruit and Vegetable Carving, I am sure you like it..

    • profile image

      Nina 8 years ago

      Thanks for the recipe. Faster way to prepare apples is just wash and cut down on all four sides beside the core. The core size varies depending on the variety of apple. Throw the cut sections in the pot, and eat the leftover apple on either end of the cores. I prepare apples like this for pies, too. You just lay the flat edges down,and get quick uniform slices.

    • profile image

      John 8 years ago

      Hey chuck ..... great recipe ..... It brings water to my mouth ....

      Thanks for the recipe .... keep up the good work .....

    • profile image

      teleassistĂȘncia 8 years ago

      Yummy!!! Next step: go to grocery to buy the ingredients and make a delicious apple sauce!

      Thanks for this excellent recipe.

    • The Pudding Club profile image

      The Pudding Club 8 years ago from ENGLAND

      Blimey, it would have been quicker to make cider LOL. A labour of love I guess

    • profile image

      jennifer v. 8 years ago

      mmmmmmm!! brings back good old childhood memories

    • DarleneMarie profile image

      DarleneMarie 9 years ago from USA

      Apple sauce has always been one of my favorites. I have never tried to make it myself; however, I bet it is even better homemade...I may try my hand at it.

    • TravelMonkey profile image

      TravelMonkey 9 years ago from United Kingdom

      always wanted to know how to make apple sauce :)

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 9 years ago from Sydney

      It has taken me a long time to find you.

      Great hub

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Beautiful Hub!  I am a big fan of home-made applesauce and the Foley food mill.  I haven't made applesauce in years, and your Hub is a real inspiration, especially since I've had my Foley out for a few days making tomato soup.  Since it's apple time here, I'm on my way to my local farm market for a nice big basket.

      Thumbs up!

    • Sandilyn profile image

      Sandilyn 9 years ago from Port Orange, FL

      I liked your hub. Growing up my grandparents and I always went and picked apples as well as corn. Grandma made homemade applesauce and froze it. She had this big deep freezer so that we could have it all year long.

      However Grandma never shared her cooking secrets. Never! We could help with the preperations but the final process was never shared. I thank you for sharing this.

      I have learned to make tomato sauce from scratch now and will soon be doing apples!

    • Chuck profile image
      Author

      Chuck Nugent 9 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Chart, Thanks for visiting my hub and for your comment.

      For those interested in checking outYoder's Shipshewana Hardware, here is a link to their website: http://www.yodershardware.com/

    • profile image

      chart 9 years ago

      Yoder's Shipshewana Hardware sells Foley Food Mills in two sizes. Check out their website at yodershardware.com! Lots of great stuff that is hard to find.

    • 02SmithA profile image

      02SmithA 9 years ago from Ohio

      Nice hub.. love homemade applesauce!

    • trakker14 profile image

      trakker14 10 years ago from franklin

      wonderful keep up the good work...

    • Shana Dubow profile image

      Shana Dubow 10 years ago from Warner Robins

      Excited you published this! I have salicylate intolerance, so am only allowed golden delicious apples. Since applesauce sold at stores does not state on the label which type of apple is used, I have been missing applesauce in my diet for about a year! God's love and blessings. Shana

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 10 years ago

      Perfect timing, as always!! A friend just delivered a huge bag of Red Golden's!! I, too use juice instead of water (cran-apple is a good choice) and raw turbinado sugar!! I guess I know what I will be doing this evening!! Thanks for the info!! Blessings, Earth Angel!! (Where is my cardamom when I need it??)

    • profile image

      Siddhaswarupananda das 10 years ago

      Your recipe is very easy and tastes great - I use also cardamom which gives the juice oriental taste. Keep up good job!

      http://www.jagadgurusiddhaswarupananda.org

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 10 years ago from Seattle

      Oh, there's nothing better than homemade applesauce. Thanks for the info!

    • Michele Engholm profile image

      Michele Engholm 10 years ago from Hutchinson

      Our apple trees are loaded this year, so this will come in very handy. Thanks a lot. I will be looking for the food mill this weekend!

    • John D Lee profile image

      John D Lee 10 years ago

      Brings me back to my youth when I worked as an apple farm foreman. Nothing beats an apple right off the tree.

    • profile image

      Susan L. Raye 10 years ago

      Does anyone have access to a replacement spring/nut for a FFM Model #101?

    • Chuck profile image
      Author

      Chuck Nugent 11 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Lisa, I have thought of using apple juice but have never tried it. Sounds good. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      Lisa G 11 years ago

      Try using apple juice instead of water for the liquid. Better flavor and then you won't need much sugar (if any) when sweetening. My children and I make applesauce this way all the time. The Foley Food Mill is fun for them. A lot of mom & pop hardware stores sell them as well.

    • profile image

      George 11 years ago

      I enjoyed your Hub. You could use the Cuisinart Power Strainer (an attachment Cuisinart used to make for their food processors -- sometimes used power Strainers are on eBay.

    • profile image

      Robin 11 years ago

      I also make homemade applesauce. We use to live in Washington and we had great baking apples. I like the green Granny Smith apples the best, and I add brown sugar instead of white sugar. I have never used a food mill. Maybe this is something I should look into buying! My family loves this applesauce chunky and warm with pork or for breakfast with pancakes. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Kathy 11 years ago

      This is very cool--thanks!