Such a long overdue post this one is! Certain things have been happening in such a quick pace, it is almost as if my life has been dizzyingly like a rickety roller coaster ride. I have been busy and struggling these past few weeks, and tired from it all that I haven’t had the opportunity to write here. It hardly seems fair for me to complain about my little old life in the face of the events that have been happening in other parts of the world. They are so disheartening to say the least.
Let us take a moment of silence to pray for the world and for each of us.
And if one seeks a tiny measure of comfort, there’s nothing quite like homemade applesauce to hopefully do the trick.
I’ve heard of applesauce since I was very little but it’s never been a staple in our pantry. In fact I’ve only ever really had applesauce since I started baking, and it’s been the store-bought ones in large jars. The difference in appearance of processed applesauce from fresh applesauce is alarming, so I decided to venture into this whole homemade business once again and made my own. Cinnamon and apples make quite the heavenly combination!
There are only five things you need to make the same applesauce I made:
1. some apples (I used some of the largest apples I’ve ever seen in my life! My photo doesn’t do them justice)
2. unsweetened apple juice
3. ground cinnamon
4. ground nutmeg
5. some patience
The amount of juice, ground cinnamon and nutmeg really depends on the amount of apples you will be making into sauce, and how large the pot is. Each person probably has a particular way of making the applesauce that is comfortable to him/her, but here’s how I did it:
Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce
- about 6 medium apples [I used 4 really huge ones]
- at least ½ cup unsweetened 100% apple juice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, you can use up to 1 teaspoon if you wish
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, you can use up to ½ teaspoon if you wish
- Step 1: Wash and slice your apples in half and core them. You don’t really need to chop them into small bits, nor do you need to peel them. The skins will be easier to remove later on if the apples are cooked in bigger slices.
- Step 2: In a large pot, add the apple juice, spices and the halved apples. You don’t necessarily have to use a lot of juice. All you need is enough to cover the whole bottom of the pan to keep your apples from burning as it steams up in the pot. [I used perhaps short of a cup of apple juice. If you're wondering about the label, my younger brothers are a bunch of hungry- and thirsty- monsters. That post-it is absolutely necessary.]
- Step 3: Cover up your pot as you cook your apples over medium heat for about 15 minutes, after which you can check to see if the apple skins have started shriveling and the flesh softening up. Mine didn’t yet so I stirred the apples around a little bit, covered them up, and waited another 5 minutes or so. [And while I was waiting for my apples to shrivel, my college diploma got delivered by a courier! Yay! :D]
- When you check again, stir gently to avoid tearing the skins. To know if the apples are almost ready, the skin and the apple flesh should be really soft and almost falling apart on their own. For as long as the apples aren't falling apart, continue cooking, checking every 5 to 10 minutes.
- Step 4: As soon as the skins start hanging loosely or falling off your apples on their own, you can tug them off using a pair of tongs. It’s usually fairly easy, and the skin comes off almost in one piece. If you accidentally drag out a piece of apple flesh with the skin, just scrape it off with a spoon and put it back into the pot. You can lower the heat at this point.
- Step 5: Stir the apple mush around to make sure you have left no more skins inside the pot. The skin of the apples would have taken a brownish color, the same as the rest of the mixture, so keep your eyes open for pieces of skin that might have gotten left behind.
Scoop applesauce into airtight containers if you’re not immediately using them or if you plan on having them for breakfast with toast the next day. Remember to let them cool before covering them up and storing them. They freeze/refrigerate rather well.
According to my source, the reasoning behind this method is: “The extra flavor missing in store-bought applesauce is in the skins, tangy and sweet. So don’t ever peel that away before cooking.“ And indeed this is about the tangiest applesauce I’ve ever tasted.
What I’ve shared is the “sugar-free” version, which I prefer because the combination of the apples and the juice makes the applesauce sweet already. However if you’re okay with a sugared version, here’s another way to make sweetened applesauce. This one uses a different technique from what I have presented, having the apples already peeled and diced before cooking for smaller applesauce chunks.
As I said, you should go with whichever technique you’re comfortable with. In case you’re more comfortable buying applesauce from the store though, it helps to know that in a pinch, you can always opt for the homemade [and healthier] option. In the end, as long as you get to enjoy some applesauce, that’s all that really matters! 😉