Once all those lovely luscious berries are gone, we still have a fruit option to turn to: the apple. A few weeks ago I bought a large bag of Haralson apples from the Minneapolis Farmers Market and promptly made applesauce, apple butter, and an apple pie. The applesauce was divided into wide mouth 8 oz. jars for lunches and while I reserved a cup for baking, that was quickly eaten for lunch, too.

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

I used Beth Dooley’s recipe from The Northern Heartland Kitchen cookbook as a guide, although applesauce is pretty easy to make without a recipe. All you need are apples, cinnamon sticks (or other spices) and liquid. I choose to not sweeten applesauce so I use water instead of apple cider and skip any additional sugar.

Last weekend I grabbed a cheap bag of Sweet 16 apples at the market and quickly realized these were not for eating raw. They were mushy and a tad mealy so I made it into another batch of applesauce. In cases like this, where the apples are too tender to peel, I’m thankful for my grandma’s food mill, which allows me to quickly chop apples, cook them down and process through the mill, skipping the tedious step of peeling. I significantly reduced the amount of liquid used in this batch, so keep an eye on the apples when they break down and add or remove liquid as needed.

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

Try your hand at a batch of applesauce with those remaining fall apples and instantly warm your home with the wonderful smell of cinnamon and spices.

Homemade Applesauce
Originally from The Northern Heartland Kitchen cookbook by Beth Dooley

6 large apples, chopped (cored and peeled if you don’t have a food mill)
5 cups liquid (all water or a mix of water and apple cider)
1 stick cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

In a large pot, bring the apples, cider, and cinnamon stick to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until apples soften and break down, stirring occasionally. Let simmer until mixture begins to thicken and adjust liquid levels as needed. This process takes 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Let cool slightly, remove cinnamon stick and run through a food mill to remove skins and seeds. Divide into containers and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.


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