Apple sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds crisp, sweet apples (8 large), rinsed, see tips
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, fresh orange juice, or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 whole star anise, optional
  • Brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, or other sweetener to taste, optional

Preparations

    step 1

    Peel apples (optional, see headnote above). Remove the apple cores and cut apples into large chunks or wedges.

    step 2

    Place the apples, cinnamon stick, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and star anise into the bottom of a large, heavy pot. Add 1/4 cup of water, and then stir the apples around the pot a few times.

    step 3

    Cover the pot with its lid, and then cook over medium-low heat, stirring every once in a while until they are very soft, 25 to 35 minutes. As the apples cook, check on them to make sure the pot is not dry. If it is, add a little more water and reduce the heat slightly.

    step 4

    Take the pot off the heat, remove the lid, and then leave the apples to cool for a few minutes.

    step 5

    Taste the applesauce. If you would like to add a sweetener, add it to taste. Start with a teaspoon, and then add from there.

    step 6

    Mash or blend the apples into your desired consistency. If you left the apple skins on, a food mill fitted with the medium disk makes quick work of separating the applesauce from the skins. You can also pass the sauce through a mesh strainer to separate the skins from the sauce.

    step 7

    The applesauce will thicken a little as it cools, but if it seems too watery, place the applesauce back into a pot and simmer until reduced a little.