God bless Johnny Appleseed! Not only did he give campers everywhere a song to sing before meals, he spread the gospel of the apple all over the Heartland. Or so they say.
I cannot get enough of apples in the fall. Not only are they the perfect snack, they also make the most delicious baked goods. Apple pie, apple crisp, apple brown Betty – take your pick!
But my true love is applesauce. Sweet, slightly pink and cinnamon-flavored, applesauce is good warm or cold.
I make my applesauce with a food mill, which is not a high-tech piece of equipment.
It operates manually by a turn of a handle, and eliminates the step of peeling the apples. The mill pushes through the flesh of the apples, and retains the peeling and seeds.
A basic food mill costs $25, and can be found at discount stores and online. Don’t spend too much: the basic one with do the job.
Lots of apples (Tart varieties are best: Jonathan or MacIntosh. Granny Smith is a little too tart for my liking.)
Lots of sugar
Cinnamon to taste
Begin by pouring one cup sugar and one cup water into a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Now you have a simple syrup, which will both sweeten your sauce and keep the apples from sticking to the bottom. Reduce the heat to medium. Cut the apples into chunks, removing bad spots and stems, and add them to the pot as you go. Cook until soft, stirring often to move the firmest apples to the bottom, where the heat is greatest. Add more apples as the mixture cooks down.
Meanwhile, place the food mill on top of your largest bowl. When the apple mixture is soft, fill the top of the mill with apples and turn the handle. The flesh will go through the grater at the bottom of the mill, while the skin stays inside the mill. You will then remove the waste from the top of the mill to make room for more apples.
When all the apples have been processed, mix in sugar and cinnamon to taste. You will need a lot of sugar. This is not a diet dish.
Apple sauce freezes well, in plastic boxes or zip-loc bags.