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Easy Applesauce

The secret to your sauce is the apples. Macintosh, Cortland, Empire are all great, but your favorite variety will work, too. 

If you can get to an orchard or a farmers market, buy seconds! No need for perfect apples here; seconds are the cheaper ugly ducklings, too bruised for sale at full price. You are about to transform them into something beautiful soon enough.

In terms of quantity, grab as many as you can carry -- a peck (approximately 30 apples) yields about six quarts of sauce.

  1. First, the only labor-intensive part: wash and prep the apples. The one mandatory step here is coring; peeling is completely optional. Cooking with the skin on will result in a more flavorful sauce. If you are feeling super rustic, include skin in the final product.
  2. If you want to infuse a little flavor, add cinnamon sticks now; two is good. 
  3. Place apple pieces in a large pot, add water until there is 1/4 inch of water covering the bottom surface of the pot. Cook on medium heat, with the cover on to prevent the water from evaporating. Once the apples start bubbling, turn down to low heat, add more water if necessary (no more than 2 tablespoons at a time). Periodically stir
  4. Once the apples get to your desired level of softness, remove the cinnamon sticks.
  5. Finish off with a few stokes from the potato masher.

Now, taste for sweetness. You might be surprised at how perfect it is, and not want to add any sweetener. But if you like it on the sweeter side, you can add a bit of honey – local is best. 

For a smoother texture you can very easily run the mixture through a food mill or mesh strainer in batches, removing the skin. 

When serving, sprinkle on some freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamon. 

Store the applesauce in the refrigerator. 

 

Adapted from http://food52.com/blog/8858-how-to-make-applesauce-without-a-recipe