Kneads and Cravings: There’s nothing like Thanksgiving with Grandma’s applesauce
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and whether your household is choosing to carry out the traditional turkey dinner or electing for a downsized version of the holiday meal, I’ve decided to offer you a gift.
Fun fact about me, I hate applesauce. I always find that it tastes too sweet whenever I’ve tried different variations from the grocery store or small farm stands. The only applesauce I’ve ever enjoyed has been the one that I grew up making with my grandmother. That’s right folks, I’m going to share with you my grandmother’s applesauce recipe.
For my Thanksgiving holiday, our family’s table is never complete without grandma’s applesauce. Here’s the thing about my grandmother’s applesauce: she doesn’t add any sugar to it, instead she allows the natural sweetness of the apples to shine through and dominate the dish. Given that I grew up shoveling in her applesauce, it’s not too surprising that I find all other applesauces to be too sweet. And honestly, what can compare to a recipe from one’s childhood? All I can think about as I write up this recipe is how I would drag a stool to the counter to help my grandmother core the apples before her kitchen filled up with the fresh sweetness of apples and cinnamon. I hope making this recipe will conjure lovely new memories for your family this Thanksgiving season.
Yields around 6 cups
1 Honey Crisp apple
1 Macoun apple
1 Northern Spy apple
1 Fuji apple
6 Macintosh apples
5 Gala apples
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Grab a large pot and fill the bottom with about 1 inch of water. Wash, core and chop the apples into small uniform chunks. To keep the minerals and vitamins from the apples as well as help thicken the applesauce with their natural pectin, leave the skin on. It can be removed from the sauce later using a food mill. If you don’t have a food mill, peel the apples as well. Chop and core apples, putting them in your pot. Cook on medium heat on your stovetop until all the apples are tender, stirring occasionally to ensure they cook evenly. Once the apples begin to soften add the cinnamon. It should take roughly 30 minutes to cook the apples. Check your apples’ progress by squeezing a piece between your fingers (give it a minute to cool). Once it is squishy and without give, you’re done.
Once apples are done cooking, spoon portions into your food mill once you have a bowl under it. Turn the handle, grinding the apples through the strainer and removing any apple skins that stick to the straining portions as you go. If you don’t have a food mill, puree the apples in a blender or food processor to receive desired consistency. While the applesauce is still warm, taste to see if it is at your desired sweetness. Those who prefer a sugary sauce will want to add sugar to taste. The same can be done with the cinnamon, for those who want to amp up the flavor. Once cooled the applesauce is ready to serve or it can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.