It's Applesauce Time!

Applesauce is a really simple way to preserve apples at their peak of freshness. As I posted last week, apples are a super-good-for-you food, and making applesauce is something most kids doing.

UPDATE 8/19/13: For updated instructions for easier, healthier, and yummier, click here.

What You Need:

3 lbs of apples (Gravenstein, McIntosh, Pippin, Granny Smith, or Golden Delicious are great choices, but really any apple will do; 3 lbs. makes about 4 1/2 cups of applesauce)


Sugar (between 1/3 to 2/3 of a cup)
Ground cinnamon (optional)

A large pot
An apple peeler/corer (optional, but makes the work much more fun)
A knife
A potato masher or food processor
freezer bags or cans

1. First, peel and core the apples. If you're using a hand-cranked apple peeler/corer, this is a great job for the kids. For the youngest children, you can place the apple on the machine, then let them crank. It makes a bit of a mess, but the work is fun and fast. As the apples come out of the machine, you can slice them in vertically. (The machine will slice them horizontally.)

If you're not using a crank machine, you'll need to peel the apples with a paring knife, then either cut them in quarters and cut out the core, or use a coring tool. Older kids can use a coring tool; just set an unpeeled apple on the counter, center the tool over the stem, and push.

Be sure to keep all the peelings for the compost bin!

2. Place a large pot on the stove and put all the apple pieces inside it. Add 1 cup of water, sugar, and (if you like) cinnamon. How much sugar you use depends upon your family's taste and the type of apples you use. I usually use a minimal amount because you can add sugar later, if you desire.

3. Bring the pot to a boil and reduce the heat. Cover. Simmer for around 10 minutes, or until apples are tender. Add water, if it seems like it's about to all boil away.

4. Remove the pot from the heat. Use a potato masher to crush the apples to the desired consistency. This is another great job for the kids. Alternatively, you may blend the mixture in the food processor.

5. To store, I usually place the applesauce in one quart Ziplock freezer bags. Press excess air from the bag and seal nearly all the way. Then press any remaining air out, seal the bag, and freeze. If desired, you can also can the applesauce; leave 1/2 in. headspace and process pint jars 20 minutes and quart jars 25 minutes.

For added nutrition, try serving applesauce warm or cold with a little wheat germ sprinkled over it.

* NOTE: If you live at a high altitude, read this important information about adjusting canning times.

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