Editor’s note: Re-reading this post 6 years after I first wrote it almost brought a tear to my eye. This is exactly why I’ve always loved writing for Woo! Jr and creating great projects to share with your family. Writing this making applesauce post turned into an applesauce party with all my children on a warm fall afternoon. This day is one of my fondest memories of playing and creating with my kids when they were young. Now they are all teens and don’t have time for applesauce parties with mom anymore. So go out and make this recipe with your kids and enjoy them while they are still small enough to play, cuddle and be creative with you!
This last weekend I went to the farmer’s market and bought apples – lots of apples.
I have another post on the way about all the different types of apples that are available in the midwest at the farmer’s market – which is 3 or 4 times more varieties than I have ever found at the grocery store. For applesauce, though, you want a sweet apple that will turn to mush very easily. And for applesauce, the farmers I talked to swear by the Wealthy Apple, and early ‘relative’ of the yummy Honeygold.
Applesauce Cooking Tips
Some applesauce recipes suggest that you cook the apples with the skin on, which makes no sense to me. Because then you have to use a food mill or sieve to mush it all up. By using the peeled Wealthy Apple, the only ‘mushing’ I had to do was to stir it while cooking. I’m all about simple (and not buying cooking equipment you will only rarely use and then have to store forever!).
Just so you know, if you can’t find Wealthy Apples, or if you don’t have all the ingredients listed below, don’t worry about it. Applesauce is really, really hard to mess up. You simply can’t go wrong with cooked apples. Cook it too little, and you’ll feel like you’re eating apple pie filling (not a bad thing!)). Cook it too much, and you’ll pretty much have apple butter (definitely not a bad thing!).
The only place you might go wrong is with sweetening it, because you can make it too sugary. So go easy on whatever sweetener you choose to use, and add more if necessary. But for those of you who like extra sweet applesauce, just ignore me on that last point.
Making Applesauce with Kids
I peeled and sliced up 11 apples in a variety of sizes, then made two batches of applesauce.
The first batch was plain cinnamon applesauce:
The second batch was blueberry applesauce:
Cinnamon Applesauce Recipe
7 peeled, cored and sliced apples (I cut mine into 8ths)
1 tsp cinnamon (or more, if you like)
3 Tbsp brown sugar (or sweetener of your choice, including none at all for purists like I used to be!)
1/2 cup water or apple cider
Put the apples and water into a deep pan and turn the heat on medium. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Watch the heat and turn down as necessary – I had to turn mine down to low after a while to keep it from burning and boiling over. As you stir, if you find any big chunks of apples, just smash them against the side of the pan with your stirring spoon. When apples are the consistency of applesauce, remove from heat and add the cinnamon and sugar.
Let cool and serve warm for the best ooohs ad ahhs from your family!
Blueberry Applesauce Recipe
4 peeled, cored and sliced apples (I cut mine into 8ths)
1 quart container of blueberries (about 2 cups)
1/2 tsp cardamom (optional, or substitute cinnamon)
3 Tbsp brown sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
1/3 cup water or apple cider
Put the apples, blueberries and water into a deep pan and turn the heat on medium-low. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. I had to watch the heat more on this batch than I did the regular batch of applesauce, turning it to low heat sooner than I did on the regular batch. As you stir, if you find any big chunks of apples, just smash them against the side of the pan with your stirring spoon. When the fruit is the consistency of applesauce, remove from heat. You may want to run this batch through a sieve to remove the blueberry skins, but I left them in (and it was delish!). Add the sugar and cardamom, and let cool before serving.
The Applesauce Party
When I was done, I had tons of applesauce, three hungry kids, and a perfect September afternoon on my hands. So I did what any fantatical crafty blogger would do – I threw an impromptu Applesauce Party for the family.
I got out my nice dishes and silverware, my vintage linens, and set the table for 5 applesauce eaters.
My youngest decided that she would serve her brother and sister, because somehow she loves to help only when it isn’t really needed. Of course, when I ask for her help with something, you would think that the world was coming to an end.
My oldest dove into the blueberry applesauce and topped her bowl with more fresh raspberries. I swear her skin should be blue for the amount of blueberries this one can put away!
My son didn’t say much. That’s OK, I think I got the point!