Every year in the Fall we make large batches of both sweetened and unsweetened applesauce that we then freeze and use throughout the year. It’s easy. It goes great on Grandmas Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes. We love it!
Let’s face it, you don’t have enough time in your life to fix homemade meals 3 times a day, 7 days a week. None of us do! This is especially true for working families. You’ve got to take the kids to soccer practice, there’s that presentation you’re working on, and the countless other things on your TO DO LIST, most of which you’ll never get to.
Under our roof we try to make fresh homemade meals as often as possible. But some nights, it’s not possible. The other night we arrived home from soccer practice, it was getting late, we were all tired, and a from scratch meal just wasn’t going to happen! That’s why we pulled homemade applesauce from the freezer and reheated some leftover pancakes from the fridge.
Prep ahead meals that you can call on later when you are short on time and energy are the Holy Grail for the modern day busy health conscious family. Sure, you could turn to fast food, but then most likely health conscious has gone out the window. What you need is something that won’t take much time, but that is still high in quality. What you need is Homemade Applesauce! From freezer to plate before it’s too late!
I can’t even count the number of times we have pulled applesauce from the freezer and used it as a super easy prep part of our meal. And you can do it too!
Read on and start your own applesauce tradition that will benefit your family all year round!
The Homemade Applesauce Tradition
As I mentioned in our homemade apple crisp post , I recently discovered that my great grandfather raised and sold apples for a living. I think that’s pretty cool! And it spawned a cool tradition. I remember family applesauce making parties as a kid and every year since I graduated from college I have returned home at some point in the Fall to make applesauce. In recent years our kids have started helping meaning we have four generations of family helping to make the applesauce!
The Easy and Fun “How to Make Applesauce” Rule Book
Rule 1: Find some good apples! We tend to use a mix of cortland and northern spy apples. I like the tartness of the spy sauce and the pink color the cortlands give the sauce, but there is no hard fast rule governing the best apples for applesauce. Others may try to tell you what apples are the best apples for baking, but in my experience there are a lot of good choices and it comes down to individual tastes. A basic rule would just be to make sure you get apples that are as fresh as possible. And if you’re not sure what variety to try then ask the people growing and selling the apples. We have picked up new varieties we like to use over the year based off of the recommendations of local orchards.
Rule 2: Organize some family and friends for an Applesauce Making Party. Sure, you could make it by yourself, but it’s loads more fun if you throw an applesauce party. And any party benefits from some good snacks and libations, just make sure you leave room for testing the product.
Rule 3: You thought there was a third rule? Well, there is actually, rule 3 is simply to have fun! This shouldn’t be too hard if you’ve followed rules 1 and 2.
The Cheat: Try making Instant Pot Applesauce.
So I guess by now you’re probably ready to learn how to make applesauce, right? Well, you’re in luck because our recipe is coming up next! But first, a few quick tips that we’ve picked up over the years:
Applesauce with Sugar vs. No Sugar Applesauce
We do vary the sugar amount when making batches of applesauce. If you’re looking to make a healthy homemade applesauce then it’s certainly possible to make homemade applesauce with no sugar. Some people prefer it this way. When our kids were younger and still on baby food we would make extra batches of no sugar applesauce with them in mind. So if homemade baby applesauce is your goal then just leave out the sugar from the below homemade applesauce recipe. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of taste. Sweeten to your liking.
Chunky vs. Smooth Applesauce
Our traditional method for making applesauce mentioned in the recipe below involves using a food mill. A food mill is used for mashing and sieving soft foods and if you search for “food mill” on Amazon you’ll find lots of options. If you’re going for a smooth applesauce then using a food mill is perfect for getting rid of all chunks and straining out the peel.
Sometimes we do make applesauce in our crockpot. If you’re making crockpot applesauce then you do want to peel the apples ahead of time. You just peel and slice the apples and load them into the crockpot for probably 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally during the last few hours. You can vary the time and the size of the slices depending on how chunky you want your final applesauce to be. Basically, cook it down to your desired consistency!
Applesauce freezes really well! This is what makes it such a great project because you can make lots of batches during apple season that then feed your family throughout the year. I think the actual time you can keep frozen applesauce probably depends a lot on your freezer. We have a separate (not a fridge/freezer combo) freezer in our garage and we have no trouble keeping applesauce throughout an entire calendar year so it stretches from one apple season to the next. Perfect.
Usually we freeze our applesauce in plastic containers leaving a little room for expansion. We have frozen in glass containers before, but I know you do have to worry about expansion and the glass cracking so be aware of this should you decide to use glass. I think most glass containers come with instructions saying whether or not they can be frozen so pay attention! I know a lot of my quart sized mason jars say DO NOT FREEZE.
On to the applesauce!
- 18-24 apples , cored and cut into approximately 8 pieces
- 1 ½ c . water
- ¼ c . sugar
- 1 tsp . cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp . nutmeg
- Core and cut 18-24 apples into 8 sections.
- Put in large dutch oven style pot on the stove with water.
- Cook for 30-40 minutes on medium low, allowing the apples and water to gently simmer.
- Stir every 5-10 minutes for the first half of cooking, and then every 3-5 minutes.
- Once all the apples have softened, pour into a food mill over a large pot and mill until only peels are left.
- Season with sugar and spices and ladle into desired containers.
- Once cool place in fridge or freezer.
You’re the boss applesauce!