Like most families, mine had certain foods that were staples in our household and were commonly served at meals no matter what time of year. For me, whenever I see a bottle of Western French dressing it immediately brings me back to 160 South 3rd Street in Lansing, Iowa for that was the only, and I mean only salad dressing that was ever in our house. Another food that brings back memories is pot roast with carrots and potatoes as it was commonly served on Sundays after church. My mother also always had homemade applesauce in the fridge or deep freeze and it was our after dinner treat. Of the foods I listed, that’s really the only one I miss or think about fondly.
As a kid, every fall we’d trek over to the apple orchards in Wisconsin and get McIntosh apples. My mother would purchase the seconds, or fallen apples that were badly bruised, and make container after container of applesauce. This usually lasted throughout most of the winter and we were always sad when it was gone. This weekend I made my third trip of the year to Berry Patch Farm to get more apples and green beans. With winter around the corner and the Farmers’ Markets almost over, I knew this would be my last opportunity for hand-picked produce.
Berry Patch has an abundance of apple trees and many apples have dropped leaving a lot of apples for things like applesauce. Today I made two batches of applesauce; one from the Honeycrisp and one from McIntosh. Making applesauce is really easy. All you need is a big pot and something to mash the apples with. Unfortunately I have no idea what this is called but it’s been passed down to me and it works really well. Apple masher? Apple grinder? Apple saucer? Oh wait, I guess it’s a food mill. I never would have come up with that so thanks, Google!
Anyway, here’s a quick how-to if you want to make your own applesauce. This is so much better than anything you purchase at the store. I actually never purchase applesauce unless I need it as a baking substitute because I was spoiled with the good stuff growing up!
Several apples, bruised are ok!
A large pot with a small amount of water so the apples don’t scorch
Some kind of masher (food mill, food processor, hand masher, etc.)
Cinnamon & Sugar (optional)
Cut apples into slices. Peeling the apple is optional but leaving the skin on gives it extra flavor and color so I don’t remove the skin. Ok, the real reason I don’t remove the skin is because my mom didn’t and mother knows best. Put sliced apples in a pot that has just enough water on the bottom to so the apples don’t scorch. Heat on medium-low until apples become slightly mushy. Remove from pan, drain excess water, and put in your masher.
For the Honeycrisp I added a little cinnamon and for the Macs I added about 2 teaspoons of sugar for the batch of five apples that I boiled. Macs are a little more tart so they needed a little sweetening but the Honeycrisp are very sweet to begin with so no sugar is necessary. When I was at Berry Patch, resident apple expert Mike told me that all apples turn into smooth applesauce except for Honeycrisp, which will be a chunkier sauce. Notice the difference in color as well. Macs are more pink whereas the Honeycrisp is much lighter.
Another thing that reminds me of childhood is the Brady Bunch and so of course, if we’re taking applesauce, I couldn’t help but include this tidbit from Peter:
Are there certain things from your childhood you miss or have tried to replicate? Do you make your own applesauce? Share any fun homemade treats below!