Apple juice, apple sauce, plain old apples from the tree, I wouldn’t touch any of them growing up. The juice was too sweet, the sauce was bland and mushy and the apples themselves were usually not a texture I could tolerate. And no, I wasn’t a picky eater. I think the quality of the juice and sauce were less than desirable back then, and the apples, maybe I just wasn’t eating the right varieties. I think we only had access to Red Delicious and Golden Delicious, neither varieties I’m particularly fond of to this day.
But later, when I discovered there are dozens of apples from which to choose, and that I could make my own homemade applesauce that is anything but mushy and bland, well, that opened doors! There’s no need to ever buy applesauce when you can make your own, just the way you like it.
I like mine with plenty of cinnamon and a touch of citrus to bring out the flavors of autumn. If you aren’t crazy about the orange peel, just leave it out. It’s outstanding when you dollop a spoonful next to roast or grilled pork loin or chicken, though.
Homemade Applesauce with Cinnamon & Citrus
- 8 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks
- 1/4 cup sugar (white, brown or coconut sugar all work well)
- The outer peel from 1 orange (washed first)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon mace (or a pinch of nutmeg, if you prefer)
- 1 Tablespoon butter or dairy-free butter substitute
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook on medium-low heat, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and stir; cover again, and cook for approximately 1 hour over low heat, stirring occasionally. The applesauce is done when the apples begin to break apart when stirred.
- Remove the orange peel from the applesauce and discard.
- Stir the apples thoroughly and serve warm.
- For added flavor, choose 2 or 3 different types of apples. Some of my favorite varieties for applesauce are Granny Smith, Rome, Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Macintosh.
- Use the peeled orange in a salad – simply section, slice & toss with your favorite greens and vinaigrette.