Making Apple Sauce

The apples from our McIntosh tree.
The apples from our Magical McIntosh tree.

Our big beautiful apple tree is loaded with apples again.  And so is the ground beneath it.  I can only feed so many to the animals, and they get more than enough from the ones that fall into the pasture.

The tree is a McIntosh.  Which were first brought to the United States from Canada in the early 1900’s and were very popular.  I bet our  big old tree is close to a hundred years old. To me it feels like a wise and magical tree.

So when I saw all those apples on the ground and tons more on its branches, it just felt wrong to me to let them go to waste.  Maybe I’ll make apple sauce I told Jon.  I know he didn’t believe me, I didn’t believe me.  Before I met Jon, I used to cook and I used to love to bake.   I never liked cooking and I don’t like to bake anymore.  But I don’t mind chopping up… well, just about anything.  I even don’t mind cutting some of Jon’s pills in half.  And of all the things I could do with the apples, apple sauce seemed the easiest.

So I started picking up the apples from the ground, separating them into two buckets, edible ones and already rotten, ant infested ones.  I got two  5 gallon buckets of the rotten ones and one 5 gallon bucket of the edible ones, then stopped picking them up.  There’s still a carpet of apples under the tree.

Then I went on-line and looked up a simple applesauce recipe.  The simple recipe I found had so many ingredients in it, I ignored all of them except how much water to use and how much sugar. Then I stared peeling and cutting apples and tossing them in the pot.    I cut the amount of  sugar recommended in the recipe in half and stopped adding water when it seemed soupy enough and sprinkled in a lot of cinnamon.   Then I just let it cook adding apples as it boiled down till my 5 gallon bucket was empty.

When most of the apples were cooked I turned off the heat and let it sit on the stove overnight.  (not before tasting it of course, and I must say it was lumpily delicious with just the right amount of tart).

In the morning I realized I had a lot of apple sauce.   So I had some with breakfast and as a snack.  It was too sweet for Jon, and I looked wearily at the big pot of apple sauce wondering how I would eat it all.

Then my friend and Chloe expert, Eli showed up.  We were going out to lunch together and I mentioned the apple sauce.  (Eli doesn’t cook either, but loves when her husband Ken, makes applesauce).   So I got out a big bowl and filled it up to the top with apple sauce and sent it home with Eli.

I still have a lot of apple sauce left, but I think I can handle it  (I’m actually eating some as I write this).   And I have a nice collection of apples for the next batch.   Which I’m going to make with maple syrup so Jon can share it with me.

My Applesauce
My Applesauce

19 thoughts on “Making Apple Sauce

  1. We’re twins! I have a Rome apple tree that has over-produced the last couple of years. Last year I was able to give most of them away. But this year I decided to make (lumpy) applesauce. I don’t use any sugar or sweetener at all. Just a lot of cinnamon. And a tiny bit of water to get things started — the apples have so much water in them already. It freezes well — and then you can pull it out in the middle of winter and heat it up!

    1. I’m going to try making some without sugar, but mine turned out to be pretty tart even with the sugar I put in. They’re Mcintosh apples and have a bite. I can add the maple syrup in the end if needed.

  2. I bet you could freeze some if you have more than you can use. I don’t know what it would be like when it is thawed, but I think it would be fine for baking – muffins, tea breads, cupcakes, scones, etc.

  3. Maria, it’s great that all that fruit is at your disposal. Isn’t fresh applesauce the best? And so easy. I don’t even peel mine- I just quarter them, remove the seeds and ends, and when they are soft, they are put through my food mill. I too add cinnamon, and don’t add any sugar until I taste it. Sometimes it is sweet enough without. I can mine or freeze it in plastic containers. Tastes wonderful in the dead of winter. Macs make the best pies, too. Enjoy the fruits from the Earth, right under your nose. Sounds like a bumper crop ;).

  4. I use apple cider as the liquid instead of water. More apple flavor, less added sweetener required. I also add any sweetener and cinnamon after cooking, it gives you more control of the final product. I often find it needs no added sweetness. Applesauce freezes (and cans)exceptionally well. Apple/pear sauce is my favorite.

  5. My quick apple recipe :

    Chop into quite large pieces.
    Shake with flour and a very little sugar in a ziplock bag.
    Fry lightly in a little butter until browned in a few places.

    I don’t know if your apples are a winter variety but we buy Galas and then leave them in a cool place and slowly eat them over the weeks that come once their skins are a bit wrinkled. They ripen properly this way as supermarket apples are always so unready to eat. Left this way Galas are the sweetest tasting apples in existence.

    1. I’ve read that McIntosh apples don’t keep well, but I’m filling up the drawer in my fridge, they’ll keep long enough in there till I get to the next batch of apple sauce Erika.

  6. Hello, we sound so much alike…. we too have apple trees… plural. Two to be exact. One red delicious and one yellow delicious. We don’t have the wonderful history that your big tree has, but, our trees came when my dear friend Marilyn called a month or so after the passing of her father. He had planted an orchard about a year or two before he passed and now this orchard was to be taken out and the land divided. She didn’t want the trees to go to waste or killed for that matter, so she thought of us. We too have apples that fall from the trees, no animals (except our golden retriever) eating them. Vet says dogs shouldn’t eat too many apples, it’s just like for us humans… too much sugar isn’t good for them either. Sooo applesauce it is. If you don’t can your applesauce, you could always put it into containers and freeze it. I love it in my hot oatmeal. It also makes a wonderful apple crisp if you do decide to bake. Put some into a pan, then make a mixture of oats, brown sugar (or maple syrup would work), cinnamon, a little salt and butter to hold it together. Using a fork or even a pastry blender, combine the ingredients sprinkle over the top of the sauce and bake for about 25-30 minutes. I would say about a 350-375 degree oven.
    Oh, and next time it’s too sweet, add more apples to the batch… I don’t add sugar when making sauce until I taste to see how naturally sweet the apples are. Lots of time I only have to add a cup of sugar to a hug cooker full of sauce (I can my sauce and a cooker is like 8-10 quarts). Have fun!
    One more thing, my father in law had a huge, huge apple tree that had to be cut down about 5 years ago (it broke my heart to see it go). That tree was measured at 90 inches around the trunk and produced counting the apples that dropped, around 20-25 bushels of apples every other year. The slower years we got around 12 bushels. It split down the middle and would have cost around $1500 to fix with out a guarantee it would work to mend it. Sooo sad. If that tree could have talked, the stories it could have told. Sorry so long… 🙂

  7. Maria, I have two bags full sitting in my basement of apples waiting to be made into applesauce. They are from unsprayed trees. I’m sure you’ll have lots of recipes offered here but I wash them, core them then cook them with the skins on, I don’t add sugar, I had pure vanilla and then pop the lot into a cuisenart (sp?) until the skins are all shredded. While this doesn’t have sugar (I freeze it later), it would still be quite a hit to Jon’s glycemic index. I have to watch my sugar intake as well but for a different reason…(I’m having internet issues and posting from my husband’s computer)
    SandyP in Canada

  8. You can freeze the applesauce and have it all winter! No special prep needed to do that. A lot easier than canning. Yours looks yummy!!

  9. It’s good to see you using the bounty of your apple tree! I’ve always been surprised that you and Jon don’t have a veggie garden and berry bushes. To live on a farm and not grow things to eat seems strange.

    I’m a senior now but I’ll never give up my veggie and herb patch and my rows of raspberry and blackberry bushes. Going out to pick my salad fresh from the garden or raspberries for my oatmeal is such a joy! The easiest thing is to freeze things in mason jars for the winter……including applesauce! (I never put sugar in my sauce, just cinnamon and sometimes nutmeg…..yummy! By the way maple syrup is a sugar too and to be avoided.) You’re so lucky to have a producing apple tree; if you don’t use all the apples, I’m sure neighbours would love them. Food shouldn’t be wasted.

    Right now I’m making salsa and pasta sauce with my tomatoes, and pesto with my Genovese basil. All simply frozen! I’ve already frozen a bushel of chopped peppers and have bags of berries for winter breakfasts. All this fresh-frozen bounty tastes so good in the middle of a cold winter. It also brings me wonderful summer memories of being in my garden.

    Jon has talked about being more environmentally conscious and living sustainably. Maybe he’ll think about a veggie garden?!

    1. We’re not really interesting in having a vegetable garden Hannah. We live in farm country and everyone around us grows veggies. Someone has to buy them.(and someone has to take all those unwanted zuccini’s from friends) Also, as I’m sure you know it’s a lot of work and our days are already filled.

  10. Yum…just a suggestion, you can do this in a crockpot too. I use Ina Gartner’s easy recipe which calls for a bit of lemon and orange juice. Of course it’s really tasty with pork roast. You can sure tell autumn is coming. Thanks for prompting all the apple pumpkin daydreams.

  11. I make applesauce year round, and we eat it almost every Sunday morning on whole wheat/bran pancakes. It’s always a treat. We don’t have our own apples, but race to the orchards when the macs are out. Before that, it’s Paula Reds. The rest of the year, when it’s hard to get either, we pick and choose what varieties to use. And…you really don’t need sugar or any other sweetener. Cinnamon is the only addition to make it more special, along with the chunkiness of not over-mashing or straining it. My husband’s grandmother made it this way, and I have continued. It can be frozen in containers, without compromising it’s quality. That way, you will have a treat and taste of fall later in the year.

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