Fall is applesauce time. And apple picking time, and when you find yourself with a half-bushel of apples, make some home made applesauce! Well, you need to find things to do with the apples, other than eating a pound each day until all 25 pounds is gone. If you find yourself with a billion peaches, look no further than right here. Apple picking is quite possibly one of my favorite things to do in the late summer and fall. I love making apple pie with homemade crust (always homemade), applesauce for the kids, apple cake, and this year, I made apple butter for Christmas gifts. If you’re on my list, your gift is no longer a surprise now… sorry!
My best girlfriend and I took our kiddos on our annual pilgrimage to Linvilla Orchards. Our families live far enough away from the 100-year-old, 300-acre farm, that we can’t go as often as we used to, but we pretty much grew up there and waited with baited breath for field trips so we could watch the bakers make pie and press cider, pick apples, and get tours and a hayride.
Greatest day of the school year, folks.
The farm used to have an octagonal barn (which served as their bakery and market when I was a kid), which was the greatest thing to be inside of, unfortunately the structure burned down in 2002. The stone foundation still is there, and just bring back so many memories! The property has so many things to do (it’s free admission, and many activities are free) including Pumpkinland (oh my gosh, remember that hay loft!?), a garden center, pony rides, train rides, hayrides, bonfires, seasonal fun, animals to feed, delicious food, family events, kid story times, pick-your-own crops, and an amazing playground (with a replica of the famous octagonal barn).
It’s honestly not fall until you go to Linvilla Orchards. Trust me.
Anyway, this apple picking… We picked Stayman and Fuji, and it was so much fun! There is nothing quite like picking fruit off a tree, and just digging in. We each did a half-bushel box, which is around 22-24 lbs each box. There are so many things you can do with fresh apples!
First, you’ll want to peel and core your apples. You can use however many apples you like, just keep in mind, they cook down to almost nothing. So, if you’re making applesauce, you might as well make some applesauce. I used about 5lbs of apples here. Here’s a tip… if you use a mix of apples, you’ll get a much better flavor!
Pop them in a stock pot, with a bit of water, and some lemon juice.
Over low-medium heat, bring them to a boil, and reduce to simmer. Let them steam away for about 20-30 minutes. (Note, this is plain unsweetened applesauce, so if you want a sweeter flavor (or if you’re using Granny Smiths), you can add some honey, agave, granulated sugar, brown sugar, or sweetener at this point. I’ve added peach juice once, and it was awesome!)
When they’re soft, you can use a potato masher to mash them up right in the pot if you like a chunkier applesauce. If you like it pretty smooth or if you’re making puree for babies, whip out your favorite food processor or emulsion blender!
We like our applesauce the same texture as the store-bought kind, so I add apples with the liquid and all, and pulse on low for a few minutes until its pretty smooth. If your sauce is a little too thick, you can add some more liquid here. For baby puree, you’ll want to keep blending. Those of you who like a mix of chunky and smooth, you can puree half and mash half, then mix it all in.
You can add cinnamon at this point too, but I leave ours plain because the little pallets are anti-cinnamon. Who’s kids are they, anyway? When it’s all done, spoon it into a container of your choice, and pop it in the fridge. Or inhale it. Whichever.
Up next, I’ll be talking about what else I made with the remaining 20 pounds of our apples!
So, what are your favorite applesauce recipes? Anyone have any dishes that go with applesauce? Have you made applesauce? I’d love to know what you’ve made!