|Half a bushel of Cameos|
I think of making applesauce like doing laundry or making a pot of beans. It takes awhile (not nearly as long as laundry or beans), but it doesn't require a lot of effort. And lemme tell you, I will be sharing tips for making it as easy as possible.
I usually make batches of applesauce in pounds of three. Three pounds of applesauce just about fills a quart-size freezer bag, and six pounds of applesauce is the max that my Dutch Oven can manage. I'm not picky about type. I've made applesauce with all kinds, and I think the main variation is sweetness. Choose an apple type that seems sweet enough for you, and you won't have to add sugar.
Starting applesauce is as easy as slicing your apples into quarters, removing the cores, and throwing them in the pot. Seriously. I don't bother peeling them. I end up pureeing the whole batch so the peels don't bother me. (If you want to chunky applesauce, you should remove the peels, though.)
Also, toss in about 1/3 cup of water and any spices. I'm a fan of adding in cinnamon sticks, and I've tried cloves, too. From experience, it's worth packaging the cinnamon sticks and cloves up in a bouquet garni bag so you don't have to fish through the hot applesauce for them later. I do not add sugar because I think unsweetened applesauce is sweet enough, but if you wanted to, this would be the time. I'd start with a tablespoon or two; you can always add more.
Here are some other spice ideas: cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, vanilla, and/or lemon juice (I'd only use this if your apples are very sweet or you're using sugar). The neat thing is you're unlikely to mess it up. Put more of the spices you like best. It'll be good!
Turn the heat on under your pot so you get a simmer (then turn it down), put the top on, and let it cook until everything is soft and mushy. This will take less than an hour, maybe even thirty minutes, for three pounds. Remove any whole spices and pour it all into your food processor for pureeing. Eat it right away or freeze it in freezer bags. Or can it if you've got the supplies.
|The Romeo skins made a beautiful pink applesauce.|
Plus, a bonus recipe!
I really wanted to branch out with something bold, so I tried Rosemary and Brown Butter Applesauce from Epicurious. I've linked to the original, and I'm posting my own take on it below, which differs only because I didn't have all the ingredients called for and couldn't be bothered to go to the store.
3 4-inch rosemary sprigs (mine verge into the 5-inch territory)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 pounds Cameo apples, quartered and cored
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Toss the apples, water, and spices into the pot on medium heat until you get a good simmer going. Turn it down and cover, but keep the simmer. Once your apples are nice and soft (less than an hour), remove the rosemary and pour the applesauce into a food processor. Process until smooth.
Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook until brownish and toasty-smelling, 3-4 minutes. Add to the applesauce.
I have to admit this recipe did not pass the four-year-old taste test. I thought it was pretty interesting, but the savoriness of this recipe doesn't make me want to just eat it from a bowl. I think it would be excellent with pork, and I intend to try something out soon. I'll let you know!