Throwback to apple-picking season!
For me, a highlight of autumn is family-applesauce-making-weekend! My grandpa has one apple tree, and my goodness you would not believe how many apples we get from it! Enough for several pies + applesauce that lasts us through the whole year. It is quite a fun process to harvest, cut, and cook the apples into all sorts of different things. I enjoy using some of the apples to create my own cooking invention, but the majority of them are used for applesauce. We’ve used my great-aunt’s recipe for years and years, and it is just the best.
My little sister is especially fond of this applesauce. The first thing that makes it look obviously unique is its bright pink color! Maybe that’s why I thought it was particularly cool as a kid 🙂
Another cool thing about this applesauce is that the many steps call for a group effort. My family really comes together to be a part of this. My dad picks the apples with whoever else wants a turn. Me and my sisters or grandma cut the apples. My mom usually boils them and adds the secret ingredients at the end. And then of course all of us eat it! And offer to taste-test many times along the way.
From start to end, this applesauce does take a little while, and as I said there are many steps. You will dirty lots of dishes and have supplies laying out everywhere. Your kitchen may be trashed and need tidying later. But I promise if everyone works together you can make it into a fun-filled afternoon!
There are only 4 ingredients in this recipe. Apples. Water. Sugar. Red Hots.
Yes, I mean RED HOTS candies. You can buy them at most any grocery store, they come in a red box. They are cinnamon hard candies and give the applesauce its unique cinnamon flavor. The package makes it look like they are spicy, a bit like Hot Tamales, but I don’t think they are spicy and they certainly don’t make the applesauce taste spicy. They do however make it pink! So if you want the pretty color of this applesauce, be sure not to substitute or omit this ingredient.
If you’re looking for a healthier option, feel free to not add any sugar. I made a batch without sugar and have used it in recipes that call for “unsweetened applesauce”. Even though you may think removing sugar, one of only 4 ingredients, would make it taste horrible, know that it does not! Apples have lots of natural sugar and so if you don’t want to add any, it will still taste good in the end 🙂
If you and your family have as much fun with this recipe as mine does, you will not be disappointed!
- A very large pot
- A seive and wooden handle (here is an example of one available on Amazon)
- A large pot of water
- Apples, enough to fill the pot (at least 20 apples)
- 1/4 cup Red Hots candy
- 1 cup sugar
- Begin by slicing apples. Cut them in fourths or slightly smaller. Apples DO NOT need to be peeled, but cut out any bad marks on the apple skin.
- Put apples into a large pot, fill to the top with water until apples are almost all the way submerged.
- Bring the pot to a boil and boil until apples are very soft; mushy. The water won’t need to be drained, the apples of cook down and absorb the water.
- Set your sieve in a large bowl. Spoon the boiled apples into the sieve. Using the wooden mallet, push the sauce through; the apple peel will be left in the sieve. When the peels build up in the sieve, remove and discard them. Only what passes through the sieve will become the applesauce.
- Once all the boiled apples have been sieved, what is left should be very smooth and look like applesauce! Pour this mixture back into the large pot and cook on stove over low heat. Add the sugar and Red Hots. Mix occasionally until all the candies are melted down and you don’t see any more red candy dots throughout the applesauce.
- Your applesauce is done! Let it cool down and then store in plastic containers. This can be frozen for a very long time, at least a year. Enjoy this recipe throughout the year!