One of my former colleagues has a daughter, and she came home from preschool one day, all excited about making applesauce and the song she learned while they were making it. The song is above.
Well, I made applesauce today, too, and I'm excited about it too.
I put applesauce in the same category of foods that I do peanut butter, and grilled cheese, and foods like that. We ate them as kids all the time. We LOVED them. And then we stopped. Why? Today, I think we consider applesauce something for children, and also for elderly who can't handle anything solid. And as a result, what you can buy in the store, unfortunately, even at the organic level, is truly awful. And you shouldn't buy it, because you can make it yourself in half an hour. And you can make it the way you like it.
All you need for applesauce, really, is apples and a little bit of water. Spices , especially a cinnamon stick, are nice, as are things like quinces (a MUST for me). Sugar too if your apples are tart or you like the applesauce sweet. And because it's so easy, you can do it any way you like.
BUT... if you're going to make applesauce, you really can' t make it with less than three, and preferably at least five, pounds of apples. The reason for this is that the apples are going to shrink down markedly. You will be astounded how little you have left. But it's worth it. You can use it just as it is (it is a MIGHTY fine thing to sit there and eat, feeling comforted). My friend David E, combines it with cottage cheese. I'll leave that to him. I like it with some cherry preserves stirred in, or on top of a very thickly buttered slice of dark bread. So make it, and you'll see how fast you use it. Don't forget the apple sauce cakes, and as a sauce for meet, and other thing.
So how do you do it? Okay, let's start with a three pound bag of apples, and know that for five, it's the same. Quarter them, after you've washed them. Don't bother peeling them or seeding them. Just dump them all into a big heavy pot. If you're using quinces, shred them. You want to shred the quinces because they take longer to cook than apples, and if you quartered them, it would take forever. Mix these all together, with whatever spices you like. I like a stick of cinnamon in mine. You may prefer cloves, or nutmeg, or anything like that. Feel free to play. Stir in half a cup of water and cover the pot tightly and put it on low heat. After ten minutes, open the pot and smell... FALL. Press the fruit down and you'll see how it falls apart. Stir it up, cover it and cook it for another ten minutes, and, guess what? You are ALMOST finished.
Almost, because you have all those pits and skin in there. I put mine through a food mill, but you can use a collander too. Just press all the sauce through it, and leave the junk behind. And you have your applesauce. Taste it, and add as much sugar as you want, or don't add any at all.
Depending on your apple variety, you will either get a greenish yellow, pink, or pale red finished product. For heaven's sakes, DONT add food coloring.
I prefer to use single varieties of apples when I make applesauce. I feel that mixing diminishes the flavor of each variety, and I shall have much more to say about different varieities of apples as autumn goes forward.
You will love yourself for this simple dish. And if you have it in the fridge, and you find a recipe for applesauce cake, well, you don't have to worry about not being able to make it.
And applesauce cake is GOOD.... You'll see..