Homemade Wild Applesauce

14 09 2013

IMG_7616The sweet fragrance of fresh apples ripened by summer’s sun and gathered into a bushel appeals to me more than a dozen roses. We all know that a lone apple holds its own weight for many reasons, but together, their citrus scent permeates the air. Many products attempt to bottle this experience into perfumes, candles, lotions and soaps, but nothing compares to nature at its peak.

Wild apples grown naturally, without pesticide and a shellac of wax, are unrivaled. If you don’t have your own apple tree, many others do and are happy to share. The next best thing is to buy local apples at a farm stand. Of course, if neither works for you, grocery stores stock many varieties. My apples come from family members with access to wild trees (thank you, mom!) and from a nearby country market in partnership with Hood River County farmers.IMG_0914

I waste no time getting the apples home and washed, mostly for the applesauce, but also to avoid the onslaught of fruit flies seeking produce stored too long on the counter. The job of peeling, coring and chopping is time-consuming but relaxing, and I usually have a young assistant by my side for help and company. Chopped apples bathe in a bowl of water and lemon juice to slow browning, however, I skip the lemon juice when making cinnamon applesauce because browned apples make no difference.

A few years ago, my cousin gave me a bag of wild apples and her “recipe” for homemade applesauce, along with permission to revise it according to my own family’s taste. Honestly, I don’t have an exact recipe, because it truly depends on the amount and variety of apples you use. Some are quite sour and require a lot more sugar than I prefer to include. Those are the batches that I make into cinnamon applesauce, balancing out the amount of sugar and allowing the cinnamon to hide the tartness.

IMG_2348  IMG_7621

Homemade Wild Applesauce
Wash, peel, core and chop apples (approx. 15 small to medium sized)
Place apple bits into a bowl of lemon water as they’re chopped
Once all apples are chopped, put into a large pot with a about an inch of clean water
Boil apples in water on medium heat until apples are tender (5-10 minutes)
Remove from heat and mash
Add ¼ C – 1 C of sugar and mix
Refrigerate for the week or freeze
Makes about 2-3 cupsIMG_1893

Note: Adjust the amount of water the apples boil in depending on if you like soupier or thicker applesauce. Mash with whatever utensil produces the consistency you prefer. My kids like apple chunks and thicker sauce, so I use less water and a classic masher. I also add nearly a one-to-one ratio of granulated sugar and brown sugar, and then cinnamon to-taste. This applesauce is yummy served cold, warm or room temperature!

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