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The way Mom makes it; something so
basic I hardly think of it as a recipe. It works well whether you
make it with a handful of apples, to eat in one to two days, or with 10
pounds to make lots for canning.
Tart, flavorful apples, as many
as you like and can fit into your
(I love pippins or gravensteins, but in Missouri I these are
hard to come by so I use Jonathans)
Lemons, about 1 per dozen apples
Set a large enough pot on the stove with a bit of
water to wet the bottom (maybe 1/8 of an inch). Set to low heat.
Rinse the apples. Do not peel or core. Slice coarsely
1/4-1/2 inch thick. Drop into the waiting pot as you slice each
apple. The first ones should be breaking down and releasing
liquid before the tiny bit of water you added evaporates; add a little
more water or turn down the heat if the pot dries out at any point
before they break down.
Rinse and slice the lemons 1/8 inch thick, and stir into the pot.
Cover and cook over low heat until the apples are all soft, which
may take 10 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your pot, the
number of apples, and the hardness of the apples. As long as it
does not scorch, you should be fine.
Put the mixture through a food mill. Do not use a blender or food
processor; you want the food mill to do the work of straining out the
seeds and peels, and the slightly coarse texture that results.
Sweeten and spice to taste. Start slowly with the cinnamon--it's
easy to overdo it. If you're grating the nutmeg fresh, it is hard
to overdo. Vary the spices as you like--freshly ground mace and
cardamom make a fruitier applesauce; cinnamon and cloves a darker,
Raisins added while the unsweetened sauce is still hot will help
thicken and sweeten it without added sugar. Another nice
variation, but a lot more work, is to core the apples before cutting
into bite-sized chunks, then cooking them with raisins but without
lemons--resulting in a chunkier, less tart version.
And I always like to keep some on hand, unsweetened and unspiced, for
use in recipes like Cocoa
Muffins and Apple
Pepper Cheddar Bread.
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