by the handful

Nutritious culinary and healing recipes collected from the North American garden, orchard, forest, river and ocean

Ugly Apple Sauce

Making apple sauce is a great idea especially if you have an old apple tree in your yard and have more apples than you can eat. These trees are often heirloom varieties and may not look perfect but are a perfect for preserving apples.

Have you ever done anything one way without questioning it because it has always been the traditional way? Well, I have always painstakingly removed the skins from apples to make apple sauce. One day I had little time and a lot of apple so I just figured, what could be the problem with leaving the most fibrous and nutritionally dense part of this fruit on? Well, the only extra step as it turns out is the need to blend the apples as they only require mashing when the skins are removed. It seems silly that I ever did that and I will never make apple sauce any other way than this again. The varieties don’t matter too much here although a lot of the more tart heirlooms really shine in apple sauce. The ratio below seems to work well, of course you may have many more apples and need to work in batches. So, we are utilizing the whole apple and not adding any additional sugar, which is a pretty good way to go. Note: the apples you use do not have to be ugly, but somehow it seems to help. 

about 12-15 apples

2 cups water or apple juice

1 heaping tsp cinnamon

1 oz apple cider vinegar

Begin by coring the apples. You can use a corer or an apple slicer, I prefer to just cut them up with a knife, by first making slices and then roughly cubing them. Completely remove any really bad parts as you like and just approximate a dozen or more average size apples. If this ratio is off a little it will not affect the outcome too much.

Next, add the apple chunks to a large pot or dutch oven. Add 2 cups water, turn heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. As soon as a simmer is reached, cover pot and reduce heat to low and cover.

Cook 30 minutes but make sure early on that the liquid is simmering and steam is present around the apples. Check water in the bottom of the pot later during the cooking process as well. Apple varieties have different water levels within their pulp which they should render but it’s also possible to lose steam and therefore too much liquid while they cook. You will want a little liquid at least in the bottom of the pot and for some to remain before blending. Remove from heat and remove lid. Let cool for a little while.

Add cinnamon and apple cider vinegar to the apples and stir up. Either use an immersion blender or pour apples into a blender and puree until smooth. An immersion blender is really preferred if you have one, simply scoop cooked apples into large mouth canning jars and fill to about 3/4. Next, blend right in jar by pushing immersion blender down through the jar as you blend.

Apple sauce will stay fresh in the fridge for at least week. It can be frozen or canned using the Ball canning instructions.


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