My family recently went apple picking and came home with 48 pounds of apples. For a family of 4. While this may seem like overload, I had big plans for these apples. I am a firm believer in eating seasonally, both for taste and nutrition, so picking apples with the family is a fun outing with a tasty payoff.
But how about the health benefits of apples? They certainly aren’t as trendy as berries and kale, but don’t discount the good old apple when it comes to nutrition. Maybe you have heard about how important the bacteria that live in our digestive tracts are to good health. This microbiome has been credited with controlling everything from immune function to mood to food cravings. Apples are a great source of pectin, which has been shown to have very beneficial effects on our microbiome. Plus, research has shown that the polyphenols in apples can help to regulate blood sugar levels.
Now back to those 48 pounds of apples I now have in my kitchen and what to do with them:
There are some foods where it so easy buy good versions at the store, I don’t spend time making my own at home. Yogurt is a good example of this. But homemade applesauce is so easy and so very, very delicious when it is made from fresh apples, I always make a huge batch (or 2) every fall. Load up on apples now when they are at their peak and get to work. What a big reward for not a whole lot of effort. Applesauce freezes beautifully, so you can enjoy it all year long.
I would love to write you out a specific recipe for homemade applesauce, but it really depends upon how many apples you are using and how sweet or tart they are. But don’t worry, it is really hard to mess up applesauce, so feel confident trying your hand at this!
Homemade Applesauce Recipe
First, peel the apples. I like to leave a little of the peel on for texture, but however you want to do it is just fine.
Next, chop the apples into chunks. And don’t worry about chopping up the apples into little pieces, they cook down in no time.
Then put the apple chunks into a big pot with a lid. If you like cinnamon in your applesauce, add some now. Start with a little bit, because you can always taste it when it has cooked and add more as needed.
Next, simply cover the pot of apples and turn the stove to low heat. There is no need to add any water, the juice that the apples release as they cook is plenty, just make sure the pot is covered as they cook. Give them a stir every now and then. Taste it as it gets saucy. Depending upon how tart your apples are, you may need to add some sugar. I like to use brown sugar and sometimes I will add a little maple syrup, too. Just like with the cinnamon, taste first, add a little bit and then taste again. You can also add more cinnamon if need be.
The applesauce is done when it is a chunky or smooth as you want it to be. The more it cooks, the smoother it gets. As you stir it, any chunks will break down.
Store in containers in the fridge. I like to put it in small containers so it is super-easy to add to lunchboxes.