There is nothing more comforting than the smell of homemade applesauce being cooked on the stove. It’s synonym with fall. Warm apples, cinnamon and vanilla combine into a heavenly scent that just makes you want to curl up by a fireplace.
What kind of apples do you need?
You can use any kind of apples you want. The result will taste more or less sweet depending on the apple variety, of course. If you use nice ripe apples, you won’t need to add any sweetener at all, which makes this homemade applesauce not only delicious but also healthy.
This recipe uses whole unpeeled apples. You don’t even need to core them, which makes preparation a breeze. The peel and core happen to contain even more pectin than the flesh, providing a boost of healthy soluble fiber.
Just make sure you wash them really well and, if possible, buy organic apples. And if you use apples that have a red skin, the sauce will have a nice pink hue!
In lieu of a vanilla bean, you can use a teaspoon of vanilla extract. The bean has a more intense flavor though, and creates nice little flecks throughout the applesauce.
You can also add other spices that you like, such as cardamom, ginger, cloves, or nutmeg.
You can replace the lemon juice with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lime juice. Not too much, though! The acidity is just there to brighten the flavors.
Do you need a food mill?
A food mill is a fun tool to have. It’s great to mash any vegetable or fruit: tomato sauce, mashed potatoes, baby food etc. But let’s be honest. Not everyone has tons of cabinet space to store all their kitchen gadgets.
The reason a food mill is recommended for this recipe is that it allows to use whole unpeeled apples. The peel and core get separated as you process the apples through the mill. I also like how it makes this applesauce slightly chunky if you use a medium disk, but if you like it smoother you can use a fine disk as well. But what to do if you don’t have one?
You could use an immersion blender, a food processor or blender, or a potato masher. In any of these cases, though, the apples’ peel and seeds will get ground along with the flesh. Therefore, my recommendation is at a minimum to core the apples, and better yet, to peel them as well. A little more work, but a guaranteed smooth result. If you have a super powerful blender such as Vitamix, you can probably get away with leaving the peel on. It will be nicely broken down and you won’t even notice it. But the seeds can leave tough particles that could make for an unpleasant texture.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s applesauce time!
Try these other recipes:
- Wash the apples and cut them in quarters. If you have a food mill to process the applesauce, leave the peel and core on. If you do not have a food mill, peel and core the apples.
- Split the vanilla bean lengthwise.
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, combine all ingredients.
- Cover and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Reduce to low and cook 45 minutes until apples are falling apart. Stir occasionally and make sure the apples are not scorching (add a splash of water if they are).
- Uncover pot and let apples cool slightly.
- Working in batches, pass apples through a food mill fitted with a fine or medium disk into a large bowl. Discard solids.
- If using a food processor or blender, process the apples in batches until smooth.