Time-honoured technique a great way to preserve apples!
I grew up eating pink-hued applesauce and admit I was perplexed the first time I saw beige applesauce in a jar. I quickly learned that my mother always made it the ‘old-fashioned’ way, using unpeeled apples. The rosy colour seeps from the skins into the apple pulp, turning it a gorgeous shade of pink; the redder the apple, the pinker the sauce. It’s important to use an apple that softens completely while cooking so it can absorb the colour. I love Empire apples for this purpose. I’m still partial to the pink stuff and make batches often – I eat it on granola, with pork roast and even by itself. I suspect applesauce made this way is also more nutritious; I know it’s more flavourful.
- 6 apples (I prefer a red-skinned variety that softens well when cooked)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 – 2 tablespoons white sugar or honey (or to taste)
Optional equipment: a food mill, ricer or sturdy sieve
- If using a food mill, ricer or sieve to puree the apples, there is no need to core them – simply cut unpeeled apples in quarters and remove the stem and blossom end.
- If mashing the cooked apples by hand, it’s best to core them, plus remove stem and blossom end of unpeeled, quartered apples.
- Place the apple pieces in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. If you like pink-hued sauce, put some of the apple peels in as well. Add water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Cook until the apples are very soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add another tablespoon or two of water if the apples begin to stick.
- Pass the apples and any remaining liquid through the food mill, ricer or sieve placed over a bowl to catch the puree. The skins will remain in the sieve.
- If you don’t have a mill, etc. then dump the apple mixture from the pot into a bowl. Use tongs to remove and discard the bits of peel which will come off the apples during cooking. Mash apples with a fork to make a puree as smooth as you like.
- Add sugar or honey to taste; you can also add a bit of cinnamon if you like.
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups, depending upon the size of your apples. Freezes well.