I bought 6 lbs. of apples at Sentry this week for a really good price, but most of them are too soft for my taste. I tend to be quite picky about the texture of food and will only eat very crisp apples raw. So what's a girl to do with an abundance of soft apples? Cook them, of course! The first thing that popped into my mind to get use a bunch of apples was applesauce. I prefer homemade applesauce to store-bought because I find a lot of commercial applesauces are oversweetened for my taste or use artificial sweeteners, which I like to avoid. I know there are unsweetened applesauces out there, but I'd just rather make my own. In addition to being delicious and nutritious, it makes your house smell wonderful! This also gave me an opportunity to use the food mill I got for Christmas to make my applesauce smooth (although I like chunky applesauce too).
I usually cook the apples with a cinnamon stick or add ground cinnamon to my recipe, but this time opted not to since I may end up baking with some of it and don't want to throw off other recipes with too much cinnamon. I may end up using some to prepare another batch of Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies. I also use brown sugar instead of white sugar since I like the flavor much better.
from The Joy of Cooking
3 lbs. apples such as McIntosh or Empire
1/2 c. water
2 T. lemon juice (optional)
One 3-inch cinnamon stick (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 c. sugar or packed brown sugar
1. Peel, core, and chop the apples (you should have about 6 cups). Combine the apples in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot with water and lemon juice or cinnamon, if desired. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and falling apart, about 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Stir in sugar. Raise the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until applesauce thickens. If you would like a smooth sauce, puree in a blender or food processor.
Alternate version: Prepare applesauce as above, using white sugar. Puree the sauce with 2 T. unsalted butter and 1 T. vanilla.
Additions: Grated lemon zest or fresh lemon juice, ground cinnamon, 1 or 2 teaspoons melted butter, 1/2 t. vanilla or a few drops of almond extract, 2 T. prepared horseradish (if serving with pork), 1 c. pureed apricots or raspberries, 1 c. canned crush pineapple plus 1 t. crushed preserved ginger, 2 c. homemade cranberry sauce (flavored with grated orange zest).