Easy, Unsweetened Homemade Applesauce

October 28, 2011

in Appetizers & Misc., Preserving, Recipes

I’d never made applesauce until a couple of weeks ago – I never encountered it outside of US, and it wasn’t really until this fall that anyone in my family became interested in it.

When I got online to see how it’s done, I was amazed at the sheer number of variations in terms of both flavor and preparation. I quickly decided that I wanted my applesauce unsweetened, as the late-October apples tend to be over-the-top sweet all on their own, and that I didn’t want to add any spices. After looking at a few recipes, I came up with the following method based on my time, effort, and equipment preferences:

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I don’t own and don’t like using a food mill, so the cores and seeds had to go, to which end I used this nifty tool above. I love this model because of the feature that allows you to easily eject the core from the corer once it’s out of the apple.

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I then quickly cut the cored apples into halves (some came out as quarters because of the bruising and spots I had to remove), threw them in my largest pot, and covered them with water.

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I brought the apples to a boil, reduced the heat, and simmered them until they were mushy-soft (approximately 40 minutes). This is what they looked like when I decided they were done. I then let them cool completely so I could handle them comfortably.

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My daughter and I decided that we couldn’t tolerate any amount of cooked apple skin in our applesauce, not even after blending, and this here proved to be the easiest method for removing the skins, eliminating the need for peeling prior to cooking (in general, I avoid peeling most fruit and vegetables – not even potatoes for mashing or tomatoes for tomato sauce). Instead, I simply used a teaspoon to scoop the soft, cooked flesh out of the apple halves and quarters.

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I threw it in a bowl,

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And blended it with my immersion blender. And because I believe that life is too short for most forms of canning, and because the exact amount of my freezer space is too obscene to mention, I simply poured my applesauce into quart freezer bags and froze it all.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 A of Little Alexander October 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

Sounds good! We make applesauce similarly (just apples, no extra sugar or spice), except I peel and core them with a knife before starting, cook them low without adding any water, and then call it done when they’re soft but still chunky. Maybe eating store-bought applesauce ruined me on the smooth kind – I associate smooth applesauce too much with that flavorless stuff.

I am curious, just how much freezer space do you have? I’m guessing more than one of those deep freezes that are big enough to double as coffins…

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2 Sofya October 28, 2011 at 11:57 am

I have never had store-bought applesauce, among other things.

I have 2 full-size deep chest freezers (not sure about cubic footage – I think they are among the longest you can get) and one fridge-sized upright freezer (it’s almost as big as your standard fridge, only all freezer), plus of course the one above my fridge. This is because we freeze a large amount and variety of meats. This year, for instance, we currently have 25+ chickens and 10 ducks (very large ones – all are around 7 lb or so I think). We will also keep a whole cow in one of them (some of which we will sell) and hopefully one, or, if we are lucky, two whitetail deer. Plus all of my tomato sauce, juice, cut sweetcorn, and other frozen vegetables and frozen Russian-style sauerkraut (which is yet to be made). In the past we’ve also frozen 20-lb bags of elderberries from our trees, but found something else to do with them this year. We are on a (small) homestead that allows us to raise 100% of our meat and a lot of our vegetables (potatoes especially, which is our #1 starch of choice).

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3 K @Venisonfordinner October 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm

We lalala love applesauce around here. We eat it with game sausages, either venison or bear. I can it, because we often loose power in the winter, and like to have more shelf stable things than not. I grew up eating it like this, my husband not, but he too loves it. My 2 year old son loves to have ‘apple sausage’ for lunch, consisting of leftover sausages with apple sauce. I also make moist cakes with it, or stir it into oatmeal with cinnamon for a delish breakfast treat.

We have what’s called a victorio strainer, that’s a ‘communal’ one between my mom, grandma, aunts, friends, etc. We just cook down the apples, then it goes through there, seeds and skins going out one way, sauce the other.

We just finished cutting up a blacktail deer, the only type we have around our neck of the woods, and I’m going to wrap it all after my son’s asleep. I love venison!

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4 Kristi November 1, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I love unsweetened applesauce to replace shortening in recipes. Just curious though. When applesauce freezes, are you able to dip out of it, or do you have to thaw it out before getting out what you need? I’m about to put up some more, and I hadn’t thought about freezing it. Thanks

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5 Sofya November 2, 2011 at 5:12 am

It’s pretty hard, you gotta thaw it (or chisel off a piece and thaw that). Note also that someone recently told me that frozen apple sauce gets really mushy after about six months – I haven’t tested this as this is my first time making applesauce. I didn’t freeze much though.

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6 Trase November 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Maybe I missed you already saying this, and I apologize if I did – but where did you get that nifty apple corer? I love it! I have only seen the ones that also slice the apple, and sometimes, I don’t want to do that, I just want to remove the core.

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7 Sofya November 3, 2011 at 4:28 pm

This one came from a local store here in my town, and I am sorry I don’t remember the brand – not one of the major ones. This store caters a lot to the large Amish population around here, so they always carry some nifty tools like this in their kitchen section. The cutter part of this tool is pretty sharp.

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8 andrea gilde August 2, 2012 at 5:56 am

I have a similar apple corer, it is from Pampered Chef

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9 Sara November 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I run my applesauce through the foodmill after they soften–it removes the skins with no effort!

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10 shannon August 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I hand peel and core the apples then cook them on low with not much water and a cinnamon stick. I only mash them with a potato masher so the sauce is semi chunky.

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11 Deb August 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Cinnamon! Where’s the cinnamon? LOL We like a small bit of it for some extra flavor depending on what kind(s) of apples come in batches in any given week at the farmer’s market. Of course, you can always add a little to your own dish instead of to the pot. :-) Some folks also like a dash of nutmeg, but we aren’t those people. *grin*
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12 Sofya August 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm

This is for the babies, yo, I don’t eat it. Didn’t grow up with anything of the kind.

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