One of the easy things to make is applesauce. But so often people reach for boring jars of almost white looking sauce that is seriously lacking in the flavor department. I make my sauce using fruit that is in season. Most recently strawberries were in season here in Michigan. Strawberry is probably the most common “flavored” applesauce out there. Making it yourself and sweetening it with a bit of honey, now that is where the flavor is at!
To me making applesauce is more about technique and your own personal tastes. So I don’t really feel it’s necessary to give you a straight forward recipe. I never really keep track of the number of apples or how much additional fruit or sweetener I add. My tongue will determine that in the end. I want to give more of a guideline on how to make it.
1. Choose a mix of apples. Some tart and some sweet. Look for apples that smell good. Smell is a vital part of the tasting experience.
2. Use a slow cooker to make the sauce. I think more of the flavor of the apple is preserved when you avoid boiling it over high heat on the stove top.
3. Invest in a food mill. This way you can put the apple in skin and all. The food mill will help you remove the skins and it’s a heck of a lot more fun that peeling. Also the skins of some varieties of apple will add a nice red color to the sauce.
4. Don’t add the strawberries to the end. Just puree some strawberries and add to the sauce until the flavor of the strawberries stands out enough for your taste. I puree my strawberries using a stick blender.
5. Finally add a touch of honey. Honey adds flavor where sugar just adds sweetness. I used a summer wildflower honey from the Mohawk Valley Trading Company. Be careful not to add too much honey as you don’t want to overwhelm the strawberry flavor, just enhance it. This is why I recommend using some sweet apples in the sauce, so you don’t need much in the way of added sweetness.