Posted by: jerzeegirl | September 23, 2008

When life hands you apples…make applesauce

Hey everyone. JerseyGirl here (well, now JerzeeGirl, as the JerseyGirl name was already taken). I asked Hil if I could guest blog about the fabulous food I had last weekend, so here you go!

I took a trip Friday down back down to my parents’ house in dirty Jerz. Mom lured me home with a promise to go apple picking (and a drive to and from NYC). Saturday morning, we went to a local orchard about 10 minutes from my parents’ house. We thought we were pretty early in the apple season, as we used to go later in the year when I was younger, but we were saddened to discover that we had missed the McIntosh season. Macs are my dad’s favorite apples, so we had planned to get mostly those. Our game plan was thrown completely off!

We ended up getting mostly Golden Delicious apples (yellow), which were, as promised, DELICIOUS! We also picked up quite a few Crispin apples (reddish). Neither Mom nor I had ever tasted these before, but I was happily surprised when I took a bite of one at the orchard. They were very crisp with a nice tartness to them, which made us believe that they would be a good substitute for Dad’s Macs. I also picked 3-4 Red Ida apples before tasting one and discovering that I did not like them at all. They had a grainy texture that I did not care for. It was only later when I consulted the orchard’s cheat sheet that I realized these apples were for cooking only. We decided to keep the apples I had picked and use them for the applesauce.

Making applesauce was a tradition in my family. Every year, we would go apple picking on Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year), then come home and make applesauce. Although we went a week before the holiday, the tradition continued. My mom used to make the apple sauce all on her own, but this time I helped out.


After washing the apples, I started by trying to core the apple with the handy apple corer my mom had, but as you can see, it fell apart. So, we decided to just cut the apples into fourths and throw them in the pan skins and all. We used to peal the skins as well, but Mom claimed she had a better plan for quickly removing the skins…More on that later

We filled the pot about half way with apples. There’s no right or wrong quantity – our algorithm was simple:

Total Apples Picked – Apples we wanted to eat = Apples in the sauce.

Mom then added about a cup of water to the bottom of the pot. These keep the apples from burning on the bottom. Put the pot on the stove and set the burner on high until the water is boiling. If you can’t see the water because of the apples, just listen for the sound of the water boiling. Once it boils, lower the heat to a simmer and cover your pot.

After about 30 minutes, go ahead and add cinnamon and sugar to taste. Growing up, Mom used to add a ton of sugar, but I asked her this time to leave it out. I’ve grown accustomed to unsweetened applesauce (Mott’s Naturals and the like), and I also didn’t want the extra refined sugars. So, this time we just added about a teaspoon of cinnamon (and adjusted it later to add a bit more). Again, there’s no right or wrong here, it’s all to taste.

The cook time for the applesauce completely depends on the variety of apples you are using. We found that the Ida Red and Crispin apples broke down very quickly (within an hour or 2), but the Golden Delicious apples took perhaps 5 hours in total. We checked on the applesauce about every hour, stirring and tasting. Feel free to add cinnamon and sugar as the sauce develops. We added perhaps another teaspoon of cinnamon

Finally, the applesauce obtained the desired texture. Now, the issue of the skin… Of course, it’s perfectly okay to eat the skin if you like it, but my mom strongly prefers a smooth applesauce. Her plan was to just stir it around and pull out the skin. That worked for the Ida Red and Crispin apples, as their skin is a drastically different color than the sauce. Golden Delicious was a new variety for us, and we didn’t anticipate the lack of color contrast to be an issue, but it was

For a while, my mom tried hand sifting the applesauce using a slotted spoon and a small spoon to grab the skins. This was taking forever, so I tried to help out by fishing some skins out of the pot with chopsticks. At the rate we were going, it would take until Yom Kippur to get all of the skins out! Then, my mother had a flash of brilliance. She suggested we try using a colander to get the skin out. In about 5 minutes we had perfectly smooth applesauce.

The last step was to distribute the applesauce out into storage containers. Again, we took a bit of a left turn from our tradition. When we were going up, Mom would can the applesauce. But today, we learned from a friend that applesauce can be frozen for months, so we decided to try that method. I currently have 2 contained of applesauce in the fridge and 3 more in the freezer. Mom has a few more containers at home as well. I’ll report back in a few weeks as to the results of the freezing experiment, but I can tell you right now that this was the best applesauce we have ever made!

Right here, there should definitely be a picture of the finished product. Unfortunately, or, well, fortunately for me, it was just so enticing that I started gobbling it up right away and forgot to take a picture. Please forgive me…I’m a blogging n00b

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Responses

  1. Love the guest post!! Homemade applesauce is deeeeelicious.

  2. What a great guest post! I love applesauce, but never thought to make my own. Are you going to start your own spin off blog? Where in the dirty Jerz are you from?

    Heather

  3. Thanks for the compliments!

    I don’t have any plans for a spin-off blog yet. I’m in my last semester of grad school, so I don’t really have the time right now (or the kitchen)…but look out for another guest blog coming up. I made dinner with Mom the night we made the apple sauce and I hope to find the time to write up that blog soon!

  4. AAAhhh, apples 🙂 homemade applesauce is the best!!

  5. Oooh Crispin apples are my favorite, enjoy!

    And I’ve never heard of someone making their own applesauce but it definitely sounds like it’d be worth it. Thanks for the step-by-step I’ve got to bookmark this for next year!

    Wow, I’ll be completely missing the season of fall this year, I just realized that, weird, and sad 😦

  6. […] into the lives of others who have different hobbies and interests than me. In the fall, Hil let me guest-post on her blog and it was quite a thrill. It was fun for me to share a part of my life with her […]


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