apples are available all year round, you can make it any time of the year. But still, I always associate applesauce with autumn. And not an October has gone by, apple trees or no, that I have skipped making it.
Can anything compare with autumn in Michigan? It's the one season I really miss since I moved to Florida and I try very hard to arrange visits to Michigan family and friends in October. The smell of pine trees, beautiful red and gold leaves making the trees vivid and bright in the sunlight, pumpkins growing in fields, cider and donuts, chilly mornings, U of M football games (Go Blue!), tailgate parties, falling leaves swirling in the wind, my kids jumping in enormous piles of raked leaves. A new season. A new start. A new school year. Yup, I sure do remember that school part. ;)
The kids always asked for applesauce- the fragrance of apples and spices cooking on the stove made everyone think of upcoming holidays. And I can still create that ambiance, even though I live in the south. Maybe we don't have apple trees, but we DO have apples.
Only those of you living in the south understand we have seasons too- they don't scream out quite like yours, but seasons just the same. Huh? Fall in Florida you ask? Well yes. It's more a state of mind than anything else but there are a few things we notice. The winds shift, the light changes as the days shorten- our temperatures stay in the 80's rather than the humid 90's. Last week I noticed our grocery store decked out its entrance with pumpkins and fake spider webs.
(Pumpkins and palms, side by side.)
We get into fall just like the rest of you with fall wreaths on our doors, scarecrows and corn cobs on our porches and pumpkins on our doorsteps. I know, it's only a mind set. But thank you September for finally arriving. And move on in, October! That's what I say. Bring on the fall....
8 large apples, peeled, cored, sliced- leave the skins on- the redder the skin, the pinker the applesauce. (If you aren't lucky enough to have access to freshly picked apples, use 2 Gala, 2 Rome, 2 Red Delicious and 2 Fugi)
1 1/2 cups water1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon ( or to taste)
1/2 fresh lemon
Combine apples and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium. Cook until mushy, stirring often to prevent apples from sticking to bottom of the pan. It should take 20 to 30 min.
We like our applesauce smooth so I put my cooked apples through a food mill. ( If you don't have a mill, KitchenAid makes a sieve/grinder attachment which you may already have.) Press the apples through a food mill.
While still hot, add 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon and the juice from 1/2 lemon. Sweeten to your own taste: I start with somewhat less than the 1/4 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar called for- much depends on the sweetness of the apples.
Cool and then refrigerate. Makes 6-8 cups.
You may store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The rest I put in Ziploc freezer bags to store for the long-term. Homemade applesauce freezes great and when thawed, you’d never know it was frozen. I've kept some in the freezer for nearly a year. One little trick to save space: put some applesauce in freezer bags, lay them flat on a pan and freeze them. Once frozen, you can stack them up.