The aroma of fresh applesauce simmering on the stove mingled with the scent of fresh baked biscuits from the oven signals the arrival of fall. Not only does applesauce provide a nutritious serving of fruit, it also creates moist, delicious muffins, cakes and breads as well. Canning by processing in a water bath or freezing in airtight containers preserves applesauce for the winter. Making applesauce from surplus apples provides your family with a savory treat while putting those apples to good use.
Select firm apples free of bruises or blemishes. According to Kansas State University Research & Extension Family Nutrition Program, tart apples like Granny Smith and Jonathan make the best applesauce. Some people prefer to make applesauce with a sweeter variety, such as golden delicious, Rome or gala, and add one or two tart apples to every 3 lbs. of apples.
Wash the apples in cold water to remove dirt, debris and pesticide residue.
Peel the apples with a paring knife, removing a thin layer of the peel. Cut away any discolored or bruised areas. Quarter the apple and remove the inner core. For large quantities of apples, an apple peeler makes preparation easier.
Slice the apples into ½-inch slices. Uniform size allows apples to cook evenly.
Place apple slices in a 2-qt. saucepan. Sprinkle with sugar and stir to coat. Sugar draws moisture from the apples. Add ½ cup water and cover.
Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to simmer the apples, stirring occasionally to prevent burning or sticking.
Cook until apples are soft. Cooking time depends on the type of apple, but ranges from 5 to 20 minutes.
Mash apples with a potato masher for slightly chunky applesauce. Put through a sieve if you prefer smooth applesauce.
Add cinnamon to taste, if desired. Serve either warm or cold.