I usually try to score a few apples from friends whose trees have had a bumper crop and they don’t know what to do with all their larges but this year there was a lot of storms that damaged so many of the trees in our area and a late April snowstorm really cut into the apple season. So imagine my surprise when I stopped at a thrift store that was giving away fresh apples from a nearby orchard whose selling season had ended.
Finally! A chance to make some fresh applesauce!
My family eats applesauce like it’s their job and my cinnamon applesauce is one of their favorites. This is a recipe that my grandma gave me. If someone she knew had a tree that produced apples she would finagle a few and make a sauce or apple butter, but the sauce is one of my favorites.
This is a sweetened applesauce and I sweeten mine with brown sugar because that’s what grandma used. I’ve had people ask if it should be light or dark brown sugar and I’ll tell you exactly what my grandma told me, “We use what we have.” So you should use what you have. If you only have white granulated sugar then use that. The benefit is your applesauce won’t be dark like mine (it will look more store bought). And of course, you can leave the sugar out altogether. The tart with the spice is equally as good.
Now I didn’t receive a huge bunch of apples from the thrift store so I adjusted my recipe to accommodate the smaller amount of apples. The full recipe is at the end of this post but I will explain how I adjusted the recipe so that if you have a smaller batch you can certainly make it without any trouble.
Here’s what you will need. Apples (duh right), brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla (use what you have clear or dark vanilla), and cardamom (you don’t have to use cardamom but I’m part Scandinavian so it’s going in)
Step 1 – put a pan big enough to hold your apples on the stove and put a half a cup of water and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the pan.
Step 3 – cook the apples – Do not add the spices or sugar yet. Just turn the burner on a medium-low heat and let the apples simmer for about 20 minutes until the apples are soft. Stir occasionally. I think I only stirred mine 3 times in twenty minutes.
Step 4 – Turn off the burner and mash the apples to the consistency that you want. My family like chunky applesauce but if you want you can press the apples through a sieve or use a hand blender to make the sauce smooth if you wish.
Step 5 – add the sugar. I used a quarter of a cup measure at a time because I had a very small batch of apples and the apples themselves were small. This particular batch only took a total of half a cut to sweeten this batch enough.
Step 6 – Add the spices – Cinnamon – Now if you’re not accustomed to cinnamon applesauce start sparingly. I went right in with the full tablespoon because I know my family likes it. Then only 1/2 a tablespoon of nutmeg for this batch. Cardamom is a very strong spice so only a scant amount. As you can see I used about 1/4th of the 1/8th of a teaspoon for this batch. Mix everything together
Step 7 – Allow to cool and then you can do a couple different thing when you’re done. You can put it in a Tupperware and put it in the refrigerator, you can freeze it (make sure it’s completely cooled before you freeze it or you will get ice crystals), or you can it in a water bath. I put mine in the fridge because my family will eat it quickly.
The smell throughout the house is heavenly and it brought my daughter out of her room about halfway through the cooking process. You can’t beat fresh applesauce seasoned just the way you like it. It’s a quick, simple, healthy tasty treat.