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Applesauce Step-by-Step
If you have the right kitchen tools making applesauce is easy. You can control the types of apples and load it up with cinnamon. And you never need to add a sweetener.

Buying Apples

There are many types of apples. Not all make good applesauce. Some are way too sweet and you end up with sugar water. They would be the lest paleo, as they have been hybridized to be sweet. These are the applesauce types that I can buy at my local food coop in Brooklyn:
These following two are early season apples (mid-August through mid-September). They aren't as good as the above list. They will do if they are the only ones available. I often use more than one type of apple in a batch. It adds complexity to the taste. You can buy a pound of apples per quart of pot size. This will leave room to stir. To reduce the effort when cutting the apples up I select the largest in the bin. This can make a big difference in the time spent prepping.

Equipment

  • Food Mill. Useful for making applesauce, tomato juice/sauce, straining squash and pumpkin, etc, and various fruits and vegetables for juices.
  • Ladle. I prefer an oval shape as it makes it easier to pour into narrow containers or into a food mill. I use mine when making applesauce.
  • Spoon, Slotted. I use this to stir the applesauce when I make it in my 16 quart stockpot. I've had cheaper ones bend.
  • Spatula, Spoon Shaped. You need this to get the last of the cooked apples into the food mill, and then the last of the milled sauce into a container. In the pictured set the one at the left is the one you want for this.
  • Stockpot, 16 quart by Faberware. This is the one that I have and use for applesauce. You can put 16 pounds of cut apples in it and still have room to stir. I figure if I'm going to go through the cleanup hassle I should do a large batch. You will see at Amazon all the many reviews rave about this pot. I also use this to render suet. Most people don't have one this large. But one is very much worth owning.

Prepping the Apples

I rinse them in the kitchen sink after I have cleaned the sink. If the apples are large I use two knives to cut them up. I use a chef's knife to cut in half, and then to cut each half into thirds. I try to cut towards the core, which may not be the center. With your fingers feel for the core on the backside. Then with a paring knife I cut out the core in a curve. Some people only cut and don't core. The milling will hold back the seeds. I don't want the seeds (some will have been cut) boiled in my sauce. Fruit seeds are not supposed to be digested, but to pass through and still be viable. They would never have been a food (and they do contain a very small amount of cyanide).

I do not peel them. If you peel them you will get the pale anemic-looking applesauce that you see in stores. Leaving the skins on gets you a red-brown sauce. If for some reason you want them peeled, there are peelers available. The only reason I can see for peeling is if you don't have a food mill and you want chunky applesauce.

There are also apple corers. They waste a lot more apple than I am able to do with my deft cutting.

Cooking

I add only water and cinnamon. For those that like numbers I'll say one ounce of water per pound of apples, and 0.008 pound of cinnamon per pound of apples. You will need to cook on low. I set a timer and stir every 15 minutes. You only have to cook long enough to make all the apples soft enough to make it through the food mill. Say an hour to an hour and a half. If they are too hard it will be a lot of work to get them through the mill. If you cook longer they will become more concentrated and sweeter. Keep cooking and you will end up with apple butter.

I then let cool for a while before I mill. I then mill into another pot and ladle into containers.

Storing

Applesauce can be frozen with no loss in quality. Freezing breaks the cellular structure of fruits. But the cooking has already done this. Hence the freezing has no discernible effect. For the same cleanup effort I make as much as feasible at a time. Leave some headroom in the container for expansion.
   








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