This applesauce is not made using a recipe. You can put any spices you want in it. It takes a few hours, minimum, from start to finish, but the end product is definitely worth it! Mix and match apple types for slightly different flavors.
I made mine with honey, therefore it was techincally sugar-free, and added cinnamon and a little nutmeg. I got about 15 quart bags with 1 bushel of apples.
This could be considered a "healthier" version because you keep the skins on until you are almost done with it - therefore pushing some of the nutrients from the skins into the applesauce.
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Step 1: Step 1 - Gather Your Ingredients/Equipment
You will need:
- baking apples (McIntosh, Courtlan, etc.)
- sweetener (honey, sugar, etc. - artificial sweeteners do not work well for this)
- spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)
- apple slicer/corer
- paring knife
- cutting board
- dutch oven/pot (nonstick works best)
- large stock pot or several large bowls (to put the finished applesauce in to add spices)
- applesauce colander (you can pick these up at garage sales sometimes for pretty cheap)
- bowl that will fit under the colander (preferrably with taller sides)
- freezer bags
- funnel (for filling freezer bags - there is a wide-mouthed funnel you can buy in the canning/preserving section at department stores)
Step 2: Step 2 - Wash/Core/Slice Apples
Wash your apples. I used 1/2 bushel of Courtlan and 1/2 bushel of McIntosh apples.
Core and slice apples using the apple corer/slicer and cut out any bad spots in the apples with your knife. Discard cores.
Place the apple slices into the dutch oven/pot, filling to the top. All of your apple slices won't fit into one pot....you will have to do several batches (I think I did at least 9 or 10 batches with 1 bushel of apples).
Add a small amount of water to the apples to prevent sticking (an ounce or 2 is enough, the apples will make their own juice, too).
Step 3: Step 3 - Cook the Apples Down
Heat the apples over Medium/Medium-Low heat until the apples are mushy, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The result should look like applesauce (with skins mixed in), and you won't feel any solid pieces when you stir through the mushy apples.
Step 4: Step 4 - Squeeze!!
Pour the apple mush into the applesauce colander. MAKE SURE THERE IS A BOWL UNDERNEATH BEFORE YOU DO THIS!
Allow the apples to sit and some juice to come out before you being mashing the apples. Once the juice slows down a bit, carefully begin mashing the apples, going in circles with the wooden pestle. If you go too fast or too hard at first, you will get the apples everywhere! And remember that the apple mush is VERY HOT!
You will see the applesauce squish out from the sides of the colander and drip down into the bowl as you work with it.
Continue pressing with the pestle until you have nothing but skins left in your colander (see last picture).
Carefully scrape the outside of the colander (the applesauce) into the bowl. Scoop the skins out from the inside of the colander and discard them.
Transfer the applesauce into another bowl/pot. You are almost done (with this batch)!!
Step 5: Step 5 - Add the Spices and You're Done!
Add the sweetener and spices to the applesauce to your liking. Keep in mind that warm applesauce will taste different than cold applesauce (the spices are stronger when it cools down).
Repeat batches until you are done with all the apples.
Allow the applesauce to cool to room temperature before putting it in freezer bags. Label and freeze.