Grandma’s applesauce has been a part of my “cooking life” for a very long time and she always used Cortland apples to make this special treat. Some of the favorite ways we enjoyed it when I was younger was as a dip for danish or cinnamon rolls. There is nothing better than a piece of toast lathered with butter and followed with a generous layer of applesauce.
2016 canned applesauce: 1 bushel = 18 pints and 4 quarts – I know Grandma would be pleased that I have been making her applesauce for so many years and that so many people (especially the guys for some reason) have enjoyed her simple, but delicious recipe.
The color comes from the apples’ skin and the long and slow cooking process. There are no spices and no added sugar besides the apples’ natural sweetness. It may have the color of apple butter but typically apple butter has processed sugar and other spices added to it. Funny, when I made apple butter once no one cared for it.
Nowadays, people don’t seem to spend time on canning but if you have a big garden like I use to have I don’t know how I could have preserved all those veggies having only a freezer. At one time I had an upright freezer and two small freezers in my two refrigerators and still did a lot of canning and other means of preserving my garden’s goodies.
I have been known to order Cortlands from New York (once or twice) when they were not available here in Michigan due to the weather – I never substitute not with my applesauce! Now, apple desserts are another thing as I prefer Northern Spy but you can only get them a certain time during the Fall so substitutions such as Granny Smith are always a good alternative.
Cortlands are a beautiful apple; juicy, red and big like the 9 oz. one below. It has a sweet-tart flavor and is an older American variety. It was one of the first varieties developed from the popular McIntosh and Ben Davis apples. When there was a big demand (gifts and such) I processed 2 bushels; but for a number of years now I am down to 1 bushel which is still quite a lot. The applesauce does keep for as long as two years when it has been canned.
Be aware though that making this special applesauce requires a couple of days; processing, cooking and finally canning in my pressure cooker. If I do not have enough to make a full load (7 quarts or pints) I will freeze some. My kitchen is always a disaster with sticky dishes, counter tops, stove, floors and even me! I do my best to be neat but there is always a big clean up.
I use my applesauce not only just to eat alone as a side dish with pork or ham, or spread on toast, but in many recipes. As it is unsweetened and no spices added to it this applesauce is very healthy and adds great flavor and moisture. The apples are delicious eaten fresh, paired with cheese and always good in a salad. I also love to make cinnamon ornaments but I have to admit I don’t use my homemade applesauce. Search applesauce for recipes…
I quarter and core each apple and place them in my largest saucepans. I barely submerge them with water, while pressing them down, and cook until they are soft and mushy, turning and stirring the apples occasionally so they all cook the same.
Once they are soft I process them through my old Victoria Strainer (water and all) – this piece of equipment is essential to have. They do make a motorized version but I like the exercise LOL! The main parts are the body including clamp assembly; hopper (big white cupped thing fits into the top of the body) where the softened apples go and you use a wooden plunger to push the apples through while you are turning the handle; a spiral which fits into the screen assembly and where the apples come through; the peels one way and the yummy apple flesh another.
I process the peels through the screen assembly, maybe 3 times to get that “pink” color from the skins. There is very little waste…
A bushel of apples is simmering in my largest saucepans for 6+ hours, stirring frequently to prevent the bottoms from scorching.
I will be linking this family recipe to Fiesta Friday #143.