I made applesauce.

I cut up apples and put them in a pot with a few cups of water.

I added cinnamon sticks.

I cooked the apples until they were soft.

And then I ran them through my mom’s most fabulous food mill.

This pushes the cooked apple out, leaving only the peels. So, so, so much easier than peeling all the apples before cooking them. And this food mill requires no electricity…just arm power.

I know I saw one like this in a catalog a while back, but I can’t remember the name of the catalog. It was a thick one that sold all sorts of self-reliant, old fashioned kind of products. Anyone?

I checked to see what Cook’s Illustrated had to say, and they recommend this Cuisipro Deluxe Food Mill. So, if you don’t happen to have a mom who owns a food mill, you’re not without hope. ;)

Since my apples were sweet, I didn’t add any sugar to my sauce. It’s 100% apples.

I put some of my applesauce in jars.

But since I canned so many tomatoes this summer, I didn’t have enough jars to hold all my applesauce. That wasn’t a big deal, though, because I was planning to just freeze my sauce anyway, so I used some regular glass and plastic containers for the rest of the sauce.

Here’s my haul from a half bushel of apples, plus some that I picked up from the neighbor’s apple tree (no one is living there right now, so they’re free for the taking.)

Since I had to buy most of the apples, I’m not positive that my applesauce has saved me money (whereas my canned tomatoes, made with free tomatoes, were definitely frugal).

I think I paid $22 for the apples, and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t cost me $22 to buy this much applesauce at the store.

But, I actually don’t make applesauce to save money. I make it because I grew up eating homemade applesauce, and to me, the stuff from the store seems tasteless, runny, and way, way too sweet. I’d prefer to eat no applesauce at all than to eat that, actually.

I am an applesauce snob.

Don’t hate me.

Plus, as you all know, I’m trying to buy and eat more local food, and since the apples are from PA and from my neighbor’s yard, I consider them to be quite local.

Also, this applesauce is of higher quality than the store-bought stuff. Mine contains nothing but apples…it’s not watered down and it has no corn syrup.

And the only trash produced by this applesauce comes in the form of two paper bags, which can be recycled or composted. The containers are all reusable, and even the lids for my jars are reused (since I’m freezing the applesauce, I used lids that were previously used to seal jars, just like I do when I make yogurt.)

So, for all those reasons, I don’t even care if this applesauce isn’t frugal. For me, it’s a worthy investment of time and money.

Have you ever eaten or made homemade applesauce? Tell me I’m not the only snob out there! :)

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Today’s 365 post: When Zoe folds laundry.

Joshua’s 365 post: A Recorder, Tank, Box, and Tarantula (not a real one!)

Comments

  1. says

    I’ve actually never made applesauce, except in the process of making apple butter. I bet it’s delicious, though! We actually managed to find applesauce at our local Kroger for something like $1.20 for a big jar of unsweetened, totally non-creepy applesauce. It’s pretty good, though I bet homemade would be better!

  2. minders says

    I love homemade applesauce! No store bought in this house! But then I live in PA and am surrounded by apple orchards, so I’m a little spoiled with easy access to cheap apples. In fact, this weekend I plan to go to the apple harvest festival, and stop at the stand on the way home where you can get a whole bushel of apples for only $12 – granted they are seconds, but when you are making them into applesauce that doesn’t matter. I will be canning two bushels of applesauce next week :)

  3. Elaina says

    I just bought a food mill a few weeks ago. I made some ketchup and barbecue sauce. Looking forward to making some applesauce this fall!

  4. says

    Oh no….you definitely aren’t the only applesauce snob. I also would rather go without than eat store-bought! My teeny-tiny freezer is half full of frozen applesauce (which always leaves my husband perplexed since he didn’t grow up on homemade sauce). =)

  5. Mary Kay says

    We love homemade applesauce and make it much like you do, with no sugar added. We don’t have a food mill but many years ago (in less frugal days) we bought a peeler from L.L. Bean. It removes the peel and slices the apples, making them ready for cooking. It’s not as versatile as a food mill but since we own it we keep it.

  6. Maggi says

    We make applesauce. LOTS of applesauce. I do can it and I save about a gallon of it and then simmer it down with cinnamon to make apple butter and then i can a few jars of that too. But too am an applesauce snob (I’ve never considered it until now) because I do not like mine sweetened like that tooth-achingly sweet crap in the market. Just apples and cinnamon. That’s it. The only difference with my method is that we core and steam the apples versus boiling them (keeps apples from getting too watery) or when I have time and room in the oven, we will roast them. That really makes for a sweeter applesauce with a little more complex flavor.

    As for the cost, I’m lucky. My in-laws have a few macintosh trees that they take good care of so i get all of the apples I want.

  7. Shannon says

    We love homemade applesauce- like you with no sugar added. While growing up my mom used a Victorio Strainer. When we lived in New England I ordered a Back-to-basics Strainer from The Mending Shed. It looks and acts exactly the same way but costs less. Our neighbor has a Golden Delicious apple tree and they do not use any of the apples. Every fall we pick the apples, make sauce and share with them. Best deal ever! Enjoy yours!

  8. Jens says

    Oh, yeah, I make applesauce–from apples on my own tree, even. I do peel them, but then I throw them in a crock pot and it’s duck-soup easy. Even my husband likes to make applesauce!

    • B says

      Same here! I hand peel (something nice in my opinion…slows the world down a bit) and then use an apple corer thing you place on top of the apple and push down and it slices and cores at same time. Then throw in the crock pot. Have not made since last year though…need to do again. I love my crock pot for most things…so easy and a recipe for virtually anything and very little babysitting required. Also, there is something better about making it yourself regardless of the cost (money saved) than buying it from the store. Notice how you appreciate things more when they are home-made? :)

  9. says

    Oh, this looks like fun! I’ve never tried it. Do you have to have cinnamon sticks, or can you just sprinkle some cinnamon in? Also, will it work okay if you do just peel the apples. And (sorry, I’m full of questions) can you use some slightly mushy apples, or do they need to be crisp for it to be best?

    • Molly says

      You can definitely sprinkle cinnamon in. I actually make mine just apples – no cinnamon, and then add cinnamon at the table. Because sometimes I’m in the mood for cardamom instead.
      You can also definitely use mushy apples, or apples with bad spots, or whatever. This is actually how I use those!
      And I’m going apple picking this weekend finally. It’s been not so great weekend weather lately. Apple pie and chunky homemade applesauce, here I come!

      • Melissa Z says

        And you don’t have to peel them if you have a good blender- I blend it up after the apples are cooked (sliced, but peel still on). I can’t tell the difference b/t peeled & unpeeled after blending.

  10. atsquared says

    I make applesauce too! This year we ordered a bushel of local, organic Macoun apples (a type of MacIntosh) through a contact our CSA farmers have. We’ll be making and canning it, and probably making some apple butter as well. Last year I seeded and peeled the apples and threw them in the slow cooker with a cinnamon stick and a touch of water. When they were soft I used my immerson blender to whir them into sauce. I now have a food mill, though, so I might do that instead of peeling.

    Anyone have any experience canning apple slices to use for baking?

    • Melissa Z says

      We slice them, soak in lemon juice water, then bag & put in freezer & they work great in apple crisps or cakes. Don’t know about pies because I don’t have the patience for pies.

      I’ve also used canned apples in baking & they turned out well. If you’re using them for a crisp, you have to reduce the baking time a bit or they’ll end up too mushy.

  11. says

    I made applesauce once, it was to use up old mealy apples. The recipe I used called for sugar, so I put it in, but next time I think I’ll either use less or skip it all together. After all when I buy applesauce I prefer the taste of the unsweetened kind.

  12. Kate says

    Hey, just because it’s not the cheapest option doesn’t make it non-frugal! I’m of the opinion that anything that’s a “worthy investment of time and money” is frugal, at least for you :)

  13. says

    Not only are we homemade applesauce snobs, we’re snobs about the kind of apples we use to make it. Our favorite is a little-known variety called Burgundy. It’s quite a tart apple, so I do add a little sweetener to it (usually maple syrup), but it makes a delicious, complexly-flavored applesauce with a gorgeous bright pink color.

    Last year, though, I got a TON of free apples that were un-sellable drops from the local orchard. It was a mix of varieties, but the applesauce from those was good too. Store sauce is just . . . nothing. No flavor at all, unless it’s from too much sugar. You can tell they use all the nastiest, lowest-quality apples to make it.

    I need to stop talking about this now . . .

    Oh wait, P.S. You probably saw that food mill in Lehman’s, where it’s labeled an “old-fashioned food mill.” It’s also called a chinese cap sometimes, and I actually just bought something on Amazon labeled a chinois that’s really not a chinois (the holes are too big for that), but more like a chinese cap.

  14. lisa says

    My son knows nothing but ‘Mom’s Lumpy Applesauce’. I peel the apples, and cook them with cinnamon, but instead of the food mill, I just mash them with a potato masher. We tend to like the lumps and not the ‘pureed’ version. But it sure makes the house smell good, doesn’t it! I would love to find a cider press for making apple cider…anyone know of a cheap source for presses?

  15. Sandy says

    Wondering if you freeze your quart size jars? I looked for some that said they were freezer-safe, but the only ones I could find were for 1/2 pint and pint size.

  16. meeghan says

    This year I made a small batch of savory applesauce with honey, thyme, butter, and salt and pepper to use as a condiment on pork chops. I froze it in 1/2 cup portions in snack size zip locks so as not to waste any.

  17. Libby says

    Cooking the apples with the peels on helps give the applesauce a rosy color.

    I use a “Foley” food mill. It looks like a saucepan with holes in the bottom and coming out the middle top is a handle. You turn the handle and it pushes the apples through the holes and scrapes the peels up off the bottom. It also has hooks so it rests on top of a saucepan in which the yummy applesauce collects!

  18. KimN says

    Store bought applesauce…ewww gross! I am an applesauce snob too. I usually make about 30 quarts of homemade applesauce (not this year though with the new baby). I found that buying apples at the store rather than orchard apples are cheaper and you can’t taste the difference. This is still local for me b/c I live in Michigan and we grow a lot of apples that are sold at our local grocery stores cheaply. I love those food mills and use one too. I like to use my immersion blender first before running it through the mill. I think you get a little more sauce out of the apples and you don’t have to cook them as long which improves the taste.

  19. Therese Z says

    That’s how I eased myself back into canning, after having to help my mother as a child and hating it. I’ve used it to get people into canning since then.

    I have that kind of mill and it makes wonderful tomato juice, too!

    I have a suggestion: I would put about a teaspoon of lemon juice into each pint of applesauce, more into a quart. It holds the color, and sharpens the flavor without being lemony, puts a “ping” on the appleiness.

  20. says

    My mom used to make the best applesauce when were were growing up. I would always use it to spread on top of her homemade waffles instead of syrup (I’m just not a big fan of real maple syrup).

    I tried my hand at it this year, but so far I haven’t actually eaten any, just canned them and put them in the cupboard.

  21. michele says

    i once worked for an elderly woman who would buy a three pound bag of apples, peel and core them, boil them with a little water, then mash and add sacharin and red food coloring (her preference). she would have it every morning with her cereal. it seemed healthy but your way is certainly moreso.

  22. El says

    Yes, we are applesauce snobs. We have a neighbor with many wild apple trees on their land and we are able to pick the apples for free. This year we put up 125 quarts of sauce, along with apple butter, jam, and jelly. I used to use a Foley food mill, but as our family grew, it was taking too long. My mom gave us her old Champion juicer (they last forever) which basically works the same as a strainer, except it’s electric. :-) We could use the juicer for a lot of other things, but it has been dubbed the “applesauce machine”.

  23. Mairsydoats says

    Absolutely an applesauce snob! And a type-of-apple snob, too. (Gravenstein, which are local mostly to Northern CA, and what my great-grandparents grew on their apple farm.) Most often my applesauce is apple butter-in-process, but that doesn’t mean I’d buy the store-bought drek.

    And my mom always called our food mill (like yours) the “apple sieve” so you can tell we didn’t use it for much else. :-)

  24. Lauren B says

    I also make homemade applesauce (this week actually)! I make mine in the crock pot. Not having to peel the apples by using your mom’s machine sounds muchhh easier! I peel them, add the juice from a lemon, a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of brown sugar, oh and a little water. I agree that it doesn’t necessarily save money from the store bought stuff.. but homemade beats store bought any day! I love knowing what I’m eating (which is much healthier than all of the corn syrup, etc!)

  25. megan says

    We have a mill like that. Mom picked it up at a garage sale I think. Never thought of using it for applesauce! Dad’s apple crop wasn’t real great this year-round but if he hasn’t used them all I will try this. I’ve always peeled mine – your way sounds easier.

  26. Janelle says

    We only eat homemade applesauce as well! My moms is awesome! I recently tried my hand at it though and it turned out pretty good!! I always had thought making it was going to be a long, hard process. It’s really not bad at all.

  27. Lynne Kennette says

    I completely agree it’s worth the investment in time to make it fresh, but it doesn’t have to hurt your budget :)

    My in-laws have an apple orchard (near Windsor, ON) and we sell apples $.60/lb if you pick your own or $.65/lb. If you buy our bagged #2 apples (slight imperfections on the skin) they’re about half of that price. So you could have gotten 2 bushels (80lbs) of #2 apples for $21…and that can really can make a lot of sauce! :)

  28. Jill says

    My family, especially my son, loves homemade applesauce. The store bought kind is no where near as good. I borrow my Mom’s food mill to make mine. Her food mill looks like the one you use. I also buy second apples from a nearby orchard and use old spaghetti sauce jars to store the applesauce, then I freeze them.

  29. chppie says

    Yes we make it here in the crockpot and I use a stick blender to puree it. I actually like chunky but don’t want to work hard enough to peel the apples. Now I’m craving a batch (warm topped with homemade yogurt) so I guess I’d better procure some apples.

    Thanks for the thought!

  30. Kathleen says

    We make homemade applesauce and apple butter every year! It just tastes so much better than store bought. We use a hand crank food mill called Squeezo….my folks have had it for about 30 years. It’s stainless steel and works great.

    Enjoy the applesauce……I like it on oatmeal waffles !

  31. Cathy says

    we make apple sauce yum yum!!!
    I am thinking of investing in a food mill what a great thing to have.
    I just made pumpkin puree yesterday for this fall and winter for all my pumpkin recipes.Its so much better to make it homemade its way tastier!

  32. says

    What do you do with your apple sauce? The only time I’ve ever eaten it was with roast pork and I don’t cook roast pork these days. I have been trying to use up apples that I couldn’t store by making apple crumble but I’d make apple sauce if I thought I’d use it.

  33. Rebecc Haughn says

    Good post, I have made applesauce myself and I use a vitamix. I mix in the peels so that my applesauce is pink. Looks lovely and my kids especially appreciate it.

  34. Amy says

    I too make my own applesauce, I also can my own apple pie filling. I do it just like you describe just without the cinnamon (I sometimes use nutmeg, but not cinnamon). I have made both smooth and chunky (with a potato masher) and I guess we are snobs too because homemade is all my kids will eat (that goes for bread, pickles, tomato sauce, peaches, pears, etc…)

  35. WilliamB says

    Making applesauce is so easy, I sometimes wonder that anyone buys the stuff. I feel the same about storebought as you do, espeically how unapply it tastes to me.

  36. shannonc says

    The best and easiest way is the crockpot. You can smell it all day long, then I mash it with a potato masher. It ends up gone that day!

  37. Andrea says

    Yes- Hooray for Applesauce Snobbery! I’m the same way with pickle relish- it doesn’t exist in my house unless my mom ships it to me. I even converted my hubby- he didn’t like pickle relish and now it makes everything better. :) I may have to make some applesauce now…

  38. Karyn says

    You’re not a snob. It’s joyful to made applesauce. I feel like a character from Little House on the Prairie. I do have a funny story about homemade applesauce. When I was in my first trimester I went to use a jar of my homemade applesauce. It smelled off to me so I sadly threw it away. I opened another and it too smelled off. When I went to open the third I asked my dear husband to smell it, he said it smelled and tasted FINE! I had thrown out 2 GOOD jars of applesauce because of my overly sensitive nose! Oh, the frustrations of pregnancy!

  39. says

    I also make my own apple sauce. My son has been asking for more since we ran out about 2 weeks ago. I’m waiting for my favorite apples to come in before making more. Pinova apples are a later variety and the first ones should be in this weekend! I normally make enough to last the whole year and I normally make some with the peels and cinnamon and some without for cooking.

  40. Karen says

    We are surrounded by apple orchards so I grew up on homemade applesauce. My kids have too. We tend to get apples from people we know who have too many, so ours is definitely cheaper than store brands. Windfalls and seconds are a good way to keep the cost down. It also helps if you can wait until near the end of the harvest season to buy the bulk of your supply.

    There is a large processing plant in town here that makes juice and sauce, and they use the seconds, drops, culls and generally unappealing apples for the juice and sauce. The perfects are sold on the export market for up to $2.00 apiece. Trust me, the good looking apples never make it into sauce, and you really don’t want to see the ones that do. Maybe that’s why it is so gross.

    We don’t usually make applesauce until very late winter. We eat the apples fresh or in pies, etc until they are reaching the end of their storage life. When we start to see tired, soft or wrinkly ones, we haul out the Foley food mill, the big pot, and the canner. It is also a good idea to add a little lemon juice to the jar before canning to prevent mold. Similar to acidifying tomatoes, check the Ball Book or similar source for the exact quantities.

  41. Michelle says

    Yeah, we’re snobs out here in Oregon too. (and pie snobs, jam snobs, and especially canned peaches snobs)

    I inherited from my mother-in-law a gadget that fits on my KitchenAid mixer that it sort of like a flat version of your arm-powered gadget. No peeling or coring required; I quarter the apples and throw it all in the pot with a dab of water and cook them down, then spoon them into my gadget, turn on the mixer, and the machine does the squishing for me!

    We have looked everywhere, all over the internet, trying to find more of these gadgets to give as gifts to fellow applesauce snobs, but no no avail.

  42. Beth says

    I just made applesauce today too. I was also wondering if I really saved any money doing it, but it’s worth it for the taste and to know that the apples were local (we picked them from the orchard ourselves) and that I only added some lemon juice and enough water to keep the apples from scorching.

  43. Margaret says

    Kristen it’s definitely Lehmans catalog. I know because I work there. :)
    I have my deceased mother’s old hand crank mill to make applesauce with. Love it. I don’t even have to remove the seeds from the apples. Nothing like warm applesauce with cinnamon!
    God bless! And thanks for sharing all your wisdom with us!

  44. lindsey says

    I prefer to peel and core before cooking. I then freeze all the peels and cores and use them later to make apple jelly and apple syrup—no pectin required, since apples are used in the making of pectin. I feel like I am really using the entire apple then…

  45. says

    The apple sauce looks good! Interestingly you mention about the price difference between making and buying. I’ve just summarised my findings (as a Guest Post elsewhere) from a week back end of June doing such an experiment. It was to passify the naysayers (well for my own benefit really so I’d have statistics for a come back response) who were telling me that time I spent cooking from scratch not only was wasted, but I was wasting money also. Fortunately I discovered that my cooking was saving me on average 40% on pre-prepared, but as you mention, it’s not all about the money! The satisfaction I get from feeding my family in this way adds huge value.
    I’m sure you’d find that if you compared your sauce to a high quality one (comparable to what you have produced) you are indeed cheaper!

  46. Sandy in NJ says

    We love homemade applesauce. I made some last week when I found 5 pound packages of scratch and dent apples at the grocery store. I’ve used my food mill for applesauce before, but we like it chunky so I pare and core the apples, cook until soft and then mash with a potato masher. A little cinnamon and fresh nutmeg. Dh likes a little honey in his. Yum. I also freeze it.

    You can also make your recipe even easier by not coring the apples. I just read a Sara Moulton cookbook where she just cuts them in quarters and puts them in a pot and cooks them down, then puts them through a food mill.

  47. says

    I made apple sauce last year and my family loved it. I was only able to can about 6 jars but it was so nice to have it in the winter and spring. Homemade apple sauce is so much better than the jars from the store.

    I buy “seconds” every year from a local farm. These are the apples that are not “perfect”. I would love to buy drops but by law they cannot sell drops. They will only sell them for horses and animals.

  48. says

    Oh, heck no, you are not the only apple sauce snob! You described store bought stuff perfectly, hardly better than…well, just not good enough to bother buying. I have such a great apple harvest this year, (my apple trees have not produced anything for years due to late spring frosts. UGH!) I’ll be making apple sauce to last me for two years. Love when that happens!

  49. says

    I’ve made apple sauce, but my pear sauce is so much better!

    I make pear sauce because friends of ours have a few pear trees, and the pears usually end up going to waste. I’m actually not sure what kind of pears they are–they might be Bosc Pears. Anyway, I make the sauce with just pears and cinnamon and it’s lovely. In my opinion, its even better than apple sauce. I might just be that the pears I use are very good; I’m not sure. But I do like the flavor better. Also I like it chunky style so I just use a plain old potato masher. There is almost no cost to it!

  50. Elizabeth says

    This will be my 4th year making homemade applesauce. I do it with a friend and we try to do about 50 lbs of apples (she has 6 kids with healthy appetites). We’ve always gotten seconds from the farmers market for a good price and then we can mix a variety of types to make it sweeter. We use the meat grinder attachment to the kitchen aid mixerand it works wonderfully. It separates out the peels into turd (sorry for lack of a better word!) shapes that the kids and the dog love to nibble on while we work. Now that I’ve had homemade, I never want to go back to store bought!

  51. says

    I made applesauce last year when my son was eating baby food. I went to make “babyfood apples” and realized that it was basically applesauce. I do not have a food mill, so I had to peel every. single. apple by hand before cooking them. So, I have not made applesauce since. However, since tasting homemade applesauce, I have made sure to buy the “natural” variety, with nothing in it but apples and a bit of citric acid. Much, much better.

  52. Melissa says

    I don’t think this makes you a food snob at all. Nothing is better than homemade applesauce. Can’t wait to go apple picking this weekend where I live in upstate NY. Having apple orchards around is such a gift.
    I’m a snob about Maple Syrup, I refuse to eat anything store bought. My uncle lives in Vermont and makes his own maple syrup so that is all that I will eat. My husband didn’t feel the same way as me when we were first dating, now he is a snob too when it comes to syrup- haha. Thanks for all of the great posts.

  53. Valerie says

    I made applesauce a few weeks ago. I got clearance apples at the grocery store, it was a variety of apples too. I had read if you use a variety that makes good sauce and I feel it does. I do peel mine because I find the pectin in the peel makes the applesauce really thick otherwise. I use the foley mill like someone mentioned above. I also have the thing that you pictured and used-though I have never used it for applesauce (but I did to make/strain ricotta), I have all the same pieces down to the wooden passel. I canned my apple sauce (mine made 22pts) because I just don’t have that much room in the freezer. I don’t feel the canning changes the flavor of the sauce unlike the other things that I have to freeze (spaghetti sauce, broths to name 2).

    I would like to find the seconds at the apple orchards but the apples are just so expensive here, and factor in the 1.5 hr drive to get them…I used my $.49lb apples from the grocery store and they worked great! Maybe if I lived in Apple country or New York/New England it would be cheaper but when they want $60 for a bushel of Honey Crisp and that is the COMMERCIAL price, I just don’t think so.

  54. Patti Williams says

    I have to believe that the homemade applesauce has some nutritional value. If you look on the back of the store bought sauce there is zip food value listed. Also, I do love the food mill. I inherited my mother’s old one years ago and I have used it countless times.
    Have you tried crockpot applesauce? Probably not necessary for you with all that you’ve canned. Homemade Granny Smith applesauce is one of my Christmas breakfast offerings. I just cut up the apples on Christmas Eve night. When Day arrives they are ready to go through the mill. That job is usually delegated so I’m free to do other cooking. Nothing like warm, homemade applesauce with cheesy grits and homemade Egg McMuffins on Christmas morning!

  55. Sarah says

    lol, I’m feeling quite disgusted about my store bought applesauce now My mom hardly cooked growing up, and I live in California, so I’ve never had home-made applesauce!!! Thank you Kristen for helping me learn so many things I missed growing up!

    • Kristen says

      Absolutely. The applesauce I make is just apples and cinnamon sticks, and if you’re worried about the cinnamon, you can leave it out.

      • David says

        Yesterday I took 1 bushel of Red Delicious apples (from an orchard a few miles from me), and ran them through my Juicer. Incredible taste. And no chemicals added! As natural as it gets. I’m thinking of freezing some as well, and may even try my hand at the applesauce!

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