Jul 082012

My mom’s made applesauce every summer that I can remember. In fact, I won’t even eat store-bought, I’m so used to my family’s version.

This year I was excited to try making it with Henry and Eleanor. Except—insert sad trombone—our spring weather pretty much decimated our central Indiana apple crop. I managed to find one orchard that had a few bushels and was doling them out by half-peck bags. We scooped one up and made a batch this afternoon.

What you need:

Lodi apples (depending on where you live, in season June/July-ish)
A whole whole bunch of sugar, like, crack open a brand-new bag because you might use most, if not all, of it
One of those mortar-and-pestle strainer thingies, which the internet informed me today is called a sieve or chinoise. The more you know!

How you make it:

Chop up your apples. I cut mine into halves, and quartered the largest ones. Don’t worry about stems/leaves/skins, those will get caught by the strainer later.

Cover the apples with water, and cook them on the stove on high until soft and mushy.

Put your chinoise over a large mixing bowl. Transfer the apples to your chinoise, and get ready for the fun part. Mash the apples with the wooden pestle-thing and watch your applesauce start to ooze out.

If you are five years old, add to the fun by laughing and shouting “EWWW! YUCK! IT LOOKS LIKE PUKE!”

Once you’ve strained all the apples, add sugar and cinnamon and stir.

This step is really to taste, so no hard and fast amounts or instructions, but don’t be shocked if you have to add a bunch of sugar. Lodi apples are pretty sour, so it can take a lot. Like, I added about 2/3 of my 4-pound bag. Please don’t make me do the math and freak out over how many pounds of sugar that is.

The kids and I did several rounds of pour/stir/taste for both the sugar and cinnamon until it tasted just right. And voilà!

This applesauce freezes extremely well, so you can enjoy it year-round. I had wanted to make a year’s supply, but sadly, with our Disastrous Apple Crop it wasn’t meant to be. Our half-peck bag netted us three 4-cup containers, plus a little extra for supper tonight.

Nevertheless, Henry and Eleanor were proud of their first homemade batch. And when they told me “it tastes JUST like Grandma Sallie’s!” I was proud, too. Can’t think of a better compliment!

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