Apples to Apple(sauce)
Whenever my dad bought apples he managed to choose the bag containing the largest number of bruised apples. It didn’t matter what variety he chose, what season it was, or whether they were on sale or full price. They were always bruised.
No one likes biting into bruised fruit. That’s why people turn old bananas into banana bread, and why I turned this lot of mismatched, slightly past-their-prime apples into applesauce.
Perhaps best of all, it’s a lot easier than baking banana bread.
I started by peeling, coring, and quartering about two pounds of apples. (If they were fresher I would have left the skins on.)
I put the apples in a medium sauce pan with:
- approximately 1/3 cup of water (apple cider or apple juice would work, too)
- roughly one tablespoon of lemon juice (the amount depends on the varieties of apples you’re using and how tart you like your applesauce)
- one cinnamon stick (you can substitute about 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon if you don’t have a cinnamon stick)
- about 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (optional)
Start it on medium heat, and when it begins to simmer reduce heat to low or medium-low. Cover, but stir every couple of minutes. Simmer 20-25 minutes. Timing depends on how large the apple chunks are and which varieties are used.
The cool thing about adding cranberries? They pop when cooked, which turns the applesauce pink.
Once the apples are tender it’s time to mash them up a bit with a spoon and taste the sauce.
You might want to add a little sugar, a lot of sugar, some honey, or no sweetener at all. You can also add dried ground ginger, nutmeg, even a dash of vanilla if you like. I added:
- 1/4 teaspoon dried ground ginger
- about 1/3 cup of sugar
- a few grinds of freshly ground nutmeg (a little nutmeg goes a long way)
Quick aside: I was never a nutmeg fan until I got this cool nutmeg grinder for Christmas.
The types of apples you use — and whether or not you add cranberries — will make a big difference in what you decide to add. That’s why tasting is so important. If it’s too tart, add a small amount of sugar or honey and taste. Repeat until you like the flavor.
If you add sugar or honey, continue to simmer another minute or two so it cooks in. Remove the cinnamon stick.
I like chunky applesauce so I used a wooden spoon to break up the apples. Potato mashers also work well, especially if you prefer smoother sauce.
All that’s left is to dish up a nice bowl of fresh, homemade apple sauce and enjoy. It’s perfect warm or cold!