When you go to the grocery store and are walking down the aisle that contains the applesauce, you will see an array of flavors. Today the shelves are stocked with cinnamon, wild berry, strawberry, peach, chunky, just to name a few. But why buy that stuff when making it at home is so easy and taste so much better. You can use whatever fresh fruit is in season. Peaches are in season right now. I am going to show you how to make it and how to select the best apples and peaches.
1. First off, I think applesauce making is not an exact science. Instead of following a recipe, let your tongue do the testing. If it needs more sugar add it, if it needs some spice, add that to. You can also adjust the apples you use based on whether you want it more tart or more sweet.
2. If you have a food mill, I recommend making your life easier as well as adding flavor and vitamins to your sauce and leave the skins on. You can remove them with the food mill when done. So all you have to do is core and slice the apples without the peeling.
3. For cooking them you can either use a pot on the stovetop or a slow cooker. I prefer the slow cooked method. The gentile heat preserves the flavor of the apples. Plus with a slow cooker you don’t have to be as concerned about burning the bottom of your pan.
4. Cook your sauce until it is the consistency you desire. Some people like it thick, some like it more runny. Then run it through a food mill. If your sauce comes out too runny then place it back in the slow cooker, turn up the heat to full blast, and wait until it’s the right consistency.
5. To add the peaches, peel and slice the peaches. Then run them through a food processor or blender to make a puree. Add that to the finished sauce. Taste. If it needs more peaches then add more puree. Last time I made it used 4 small to medium peaches to go with the 1/2 peck of apples I had.
Apple selection: Here in Michigan, apple season and peach season overlap. There are several good early season apples available during the height of peach season. These apples make the best sauce in my opinion. The last time I made the sauce I used Paula Red apples. These are a tart apple that gets sweeter with age. I like the flavor and it breaks down quickly for sauce. Transparent apples are another good choice. They one of the most tart apples. Other good early season choices include Jersey Mac, Ginger Gold, and McIntosh. You can really use whatever apples you want. Or you can use a combination of apples.
Peach selection: Large freestone varieties are the best choice for the sauce. The less peeling you have to do the better and freestone (peaches where the pit easily is removed from the flesh) are easier to work with. Pick a flavorful peach. The popular Red Haven peach is available the same time as the apples I mentioned above. It is a sweet peach, so pairing it with a tart apple is an excellent choice. I also like Bellaire and Glowing Star peaches. Each of these I have used before and they made an delicious sauce. You could also use white flesh peaches, althought I would not recommend it as the white ones tend not to have the flavor of the yellow varieties. But if you find one that isn’t just sweet (like one of my favorite whites, Sugar May), then go ahead and use them.