Fall is synonymous with apples. But, you can easily pick more apples than you know what to do with during a brief outing to a local orchard. You can make classic desserts like apple pie or apple crisp, but one of my favorite things to do with fresh apples in the fall is to make applesauce.
One of my best friends picks apples every fall from her grandparents’ farm. When I get a message saying she’s got the apples, she and I dedicate a day each September or October to working in the kitchen, peeling and slicing box after box of apples and dumping them — with brown sugar and cinnamon — into every Dutch oven and Crock Pot we can find in the house. We chat while we work, which always makes the task go faster and feel easier, and we feel a bit of a connection to pioneer women as we make our own food.
8 apples, peeled and cored and sliced (throw the apple peels and cores in your compost pile)
1 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup brown sugar (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat for 20-30 minutes or until apples are soft.
Or mix all ingredients in a Crock Pot. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 to 8 hours or until apples are soft.
Once apples are soft, mash them with a potato masher, spoon, or with an immersion blender until you reach your desired consistency, either chunky or smooth. Serve warm or chilled.
This applesauce keeps for about a week in your refrigerator, or you can place it in freezer-safe containers and enjoy it throughout the winter.
You can also easily double or halve this recipe depending on how many apples you have. Honestly, if you don’t get the mathematics just right with the ingredient amounts, it will be okay. Applesauce is forgiving, and it’s easy to add a little more brown sugar, water, or cinnamon as needed.
My family’s favorite way to eat homemade applesauce is warm with a spoonful of whipped cream on top. Bonus points if the whipped cream is also homemade. My oldest daughter likes a little extra sprinkling of cinnamon on top, too.