Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cinnamon Spiced Applesauce

With my first attempt at homemade applesauce, I have now joined the ranks of "people who process and preserve their produce."  Well, maybe I should say semi-joined, or joined as a junior member, since I neither grew the apples myself nor properly canned the applesauce (I opted for the refridgerator version in recycled glass jars).

To make applesauce, I used Cortland apples that Keith and I picked ourselves last weekend from a local orchard.

I can't remember if this is a picture of a Cortland apple, or a Jonathan apple, which I used to make an apple tart/pie.  If you'd like, check out my yesterday's post about apple picking and tart baking.

Since I had never made applesauce before, I looked up a few recipes on the internet and realized that making applesauce is less science (like baking) and more art (like cooking).  So my own improvised version went something like this:

*   *   *   *   *
Cinnamon Spiced Applesauce

5 lbs of apples - peeled, quartered and cored
1 1/4 cups water (or 1/4 cup water per pound of apples)
5 Tablespoons brown sugar (or 1T per pound of apples)
*1 1/4 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used a few generous shakes)

*In retrospect, about 1-2 teaspoon cinnamon would probably suit most people's tastes.

Add all ingredients into a large pot.  Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until apples are very soft.  Remove the pot from heat and mash apples with a potato masher.

*   *   *   *   *
Aside from the slightly tedious chore of peeling and coring apples, which I did by hand with a small knife, making applesauce was surprisingly simple and intuitive.  I only used 1 tablespoon of brown sugar per pound of apples because I wanted very lightly sweetened applesauce.  Sugar can be left out altogether or increased up to four times this amount (probably grocery store level of sweetness at that point) depending on your taste.

The resulting applesauce had a slightly orange/brown tint to it, even more so in this picture due to poor light quality in the kitchen at the time.  I think it's from the brown sugar and/or the amount of cinnamon, because peeled apples are supposed to give you light golden/yellow applesauce.  Next time, I will probably reduce the amount of cinnamon by half and use only about 1-2 teaspoons.  The reason we used so much this time was because Keith was in charge of adding the spices and he LOVES cinnamon.  He thought this batch of applesauce tasted great, but I would prefer somewhat less cinnamon.  I might also try sprinkling in a little bit of ground cloves and allspice to add another depth to the spice flavor.

This applesauce was served warm right after I made it and also cold the next day for after-dinner dessert.  Both times, it was delicious.


The Apple Pie Gal said...

Ah yes, a very good place to begin! You should check out a food more peeling or coring. Just quarter, cook and run it thru the mill. Super simple!

I know you don't like gadgets, but it works great for this as well as saucing your maters etc.

Sherri B. said...

Your applesauce looks delicious and sounds yummy too! Like you chose to do, I kind of branch off and do my own thing..It feels good to stand back and see all your work looking so pretty...Job well done!

upinak said...

Thyme, you want some interestingly GOOD recipes.. as you shall become addicted to canning. Go to this blog...

They even show pictures of their canned goods!

Kaytee said...

Love love LOVE homemade applesauce. I make it every year. This year, I'm going to shoot for 2 dozen quarts. And I agree with Apple Pie Gal, a food mill is definitely good for this. (And is good for the arms!)

When I make sauce I wait until after the apples are mashed to add the sugar and cinnamon. This way you can control how much of each you add; tasting as you add. Sometimes I don't add any sugar, other times I add a lot. It all depends on the apples. And I use white sugar since I don't want anything interfering with the taste of the apples. Just a little sugar to cut any tartness, and you got one damn good applesauce!

Dirt Lover said...

Thyme, if you continue with applesauce, your frustration level will be reduced if you get the food mill like apple pie gal said, or at least get one of those hand cranked/peeler/corer/slicer/dicer/ricer/micer thingies. I bought one this year, and let me tell you, it is SWEET!!! Nice job on your venture into canningdom.

thyme2garden said...

TAPG - You might be right about a food mill. I'm beginning to realize that if I'm going to get more into gardening and canning, more gadget-owning will be inevitable. Then I will have to get new kitchen cabinets to store all the gadgets and more pantry shelves to store all the canned goods. Soon enough, we'll have to move to a bigger house with a larger kitchen to fit more cabinets and shelves for all the gadgets and jars. :-)

* * * * *
Sherri B. - thank you so much! I'm still waiting to read about your stuffed cabbage story.

* * * * *
upinak - I'm almost afraid to start canning, precisely for this reason. I've seen people who just can't seem to stop themselves from purchasing more canning jars (Granny, are you reading this?), I'm not sure if I'm ready to go down this path yet!

* * * * *
Kaytee - Although I don't often eat applesauce, I thought my own homemade applesauce was much better than the store-bought kind. Thanks for the tip about adding sugar and stuff later. It makes sense that some apples will require more sugar than others, depending on the tartness.

* * * * *
Lori - alright alright, I will consider a food mill! I like that term "canningdom." I will have to find a way to use it next time. :)

Heather@myeverydaygraces said...

Bravo! We love us some applesauce here. I usually can it but last year put some in the freezer too, in gallon size ziplock bags. I like to put cinnamon sticks in while it cooks and then of course we add cinn like mad when we serve it.

I love that your applesauce is "chunky' (at least it looks like it is:) That's how we like it so I opted for the peeler, corer, slicer from Pampered Chef, but I gave my mom the Williams-Sonoma one and actually prefer it... it has a nice suction cup for the counter.

I like Kaytee's idea for waiting until adding sugar after it cooks in order to gauge the sweetness. Thanks!

And that is my 2, no, 5 cents:)

thyme2garden said...

Heather - I thought about freezing some, too, but didn't think I made enough for that. I'm sure we can go through these three jars pretty quickly, especially if I use some for baking, too. The applesauce is a bit chunky, since I used the potato masher and was not obsessive about breaking up every last piece. I like chunky applesauce better than the smoother kind, too! I didn't think about this, but if I use a foodmill, I guess it gets rid of all chunks, right?

Thanks for your 5 cents. I'll take all the pennies you're willing to give out. :)

Ott, A. said...

that recipe sounds sooo good. but I have to tell you instead of using a knife to do all your peeling and cutting you really need to head to Bed, Bath and Beyond and pick up one of there apple/peeler/corer all in one. You stick it to your table, stick the apple on, and turn the handle. It works AMAZINGLY well and is totally worth the $20.

Kelly @ The Startup Wife said...

Thanks for your comment! I just added you to my list too! What a lovely blog you have.

I've always wanted to make applesauce--something about the store-bought kind turns me off. But this looks so incredible--spicy, rustic, full of texture. Mmmm, my mouth is watering.

Also, I used to garden and then we had to move unexpectedly, and I mourn for that garden every single day. (Now we have a cement balcony where we aren't allowed to have so much as a potted plant, sigh.) I'll have to live vicariously through yours!

Engineeredgarden said...

I bet it's going to be yummy this winter!

Tiny Gardener said...

That is so freakin awesome! I have been dying to make home made apple sauce for like, 2 years now. I think I am going to have to follow suit and go an orchard get some apples. Fall is just simply calling my name!

thyme2garden said...

Ott, A - I think what you're talking about is the same thing that Heather's talking about, with the tabletop apple peeler/corer. I've never seen one in action, but am now really curious about this gadget.

* * * * *
Kelly - I used to live in places like that where I did not have one single square foot of dirt or balcony to my name. Very sad, but such is life in the urban jungle! I've learned that there are pros and cons to living just about everywhere, and you just have to make the best of wherever you are. Even if it's living the gardener's life vicariously through bloggers! :-)

* * * * *
EG - well, this batch of apple sauce is definitely not going to last me through or even until this winter. Hopefully I'll make more, and maybe even learn to can properly someday.

* * * * *
Tiny Gardener - I'm sure there's an orchard near you somewhere. One of the benefits of living in the midwest, right?

Greenearth said...

That sounds so delicious. What a joy to pick the apples yourself.

Anonymous said...

We don't have a tradition of making apple sauce here. I don't know anyone who makes it and I wouldn't know how to use it. Do you just eat it with a spoon, or have it with pancakes, or use it in apple pie?
I love cinnamon with apples, too! But apples, cinnamon and walnuts is the best combination for me.

kitsapFG said...

Mmmm... applesauce! Very yummy looking. Congratulations on venturing into processing fresh produce. I think it is my duty to let you know now though - that you have been infected and there is no turning back! LOL!

Annie's Granny said...

I'm with my buddy, Keith. I love lots of cinnamon in my applesauce. If you add cloves and nutmeg, it will taste like apple butter, not applesauce!

You're only a step away from beginning to do your home canning. Betcha you'll be canning up a storm by next year!

Melissa said...

Beautiful sauce!

thyme2garden said...

Greenearth - thank you! I really enjoyed apple picking a lot.

* * * * *
vrtlarica - just put some in a small shallow bowl or cup, and eat it with a spoon, you got it! Or you can put it on anything you want. Keith was talking about putting some on pork chops. I've never put it in apple pie, but I have seen recipes that use it in addition to regular apples. Applesauce can also be used in some quickbread recipes (like banana bread or muffins) to substitute for oil (to a certain extent) to provide moisture without the fat content.

I bet a scoop of applesauce in a bowl sprinkled with cinnamon and crushed walnuts would be tasty!

* * * * *
kitsapFG - thank you! And thanks for the warning. The garden blogging community is a very enabling one for not just gardening, but also canning and cooking.

* * * * *
Granny - I haven't thought about making apple butter, but I might have to look into it now.

* * * * *
Melissa - thank you!

Frugal Gardener said...

I am going to try canning appplesauce this year for the first time. Thank you for the recipe, I will certainly try it. Oh and I broke down and purchased a stainless steel hand cranked food mill and it doesn't take up too much room. One of the smaller "gadgets" that I have purchased since I started to can. Especially when you compare them to the industrial size pots I have purchased.

Frugal Gardener said...

I am going to try canning appplesauce this year for the first time. Thank you for the recipe, I will certainly try it. Oh and I broke down and purchased a stainless steel hand cranked food mill and it doesn't take up too much room. One of the smaller "gadgets" that I have purchased since I started to can. Especially when you compare them to the industrial size pots I have purchased.

Sense of Home said...

I just received two bags of apples at work today and I can hardly wait to go home and make applesauce. I love homemade applesauce and having some canned and ready to eat later is a must.


meemsnyc said...

Oh my, the applesauce looks delicious! I have to try that! I was reading your other post, and all the apples on the ground bums me out. I hope they collect them and do something with them. The gardener in me would be collecting them and making cider or something. ;)

thyme2garden said...

Frugal Gardener - I didn't think to compare kitchen gadgets to large pots, but what you say definitely makes sense! I hope your applesauce turns out well!

* * * * *
Sense of Home - What a nice to receive from work. Enjoy your applesauce!

* * * * *
meemsnyc - I hear you on the ground apples!

Kelly said...

I have applesauce in the hot water bath. Home-made is more expensive, but it tastes so darn good!

I peel & core by hand as well. Then I use the potato masher and stick blender to make it all 'saucy'. If you get the urge to make another batch just boil it for 20 minutes, and you will officially be a canner! ;)

thyme2garden said...

Kelly - I know, I'm *this* close to being a canner. :-)

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