You'll never go back to the jarred stuff after trying this super easy life-changing homemade applesauce.
- 5 pounds apples, rinsed and quartered (core the apples if you won’t be using a food mill)
- Up to 1/2 cup granulated sugar or honey, optional
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional
Toss the apples into a large pot, non-reactive pot (such as stainless steel or enameled cast iron) with at last a 5-quart capacity. Add about half an inch of water to the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot and set it over medium heat. Once you hear the water boiling, uncover the pot and stir every few minutes, adding a little more water if the apples start to stick to the bottom of the pot. Lower the heat, a bit at a time, to maintain a simmer. As the apples cook down, you’ll need to stir the pot more often. Some apples will release more liquid than others, so the cooking time and the water you’ll need to add will vary.
Once the apples are very soft with no opaque spots left and have totally collapsed (anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour), pass them in batches though a food mill set over a large bowl (alternately, push the apples through a colander with a large wooden spoon). Taste the applesauce; if it’s too tart, add some sugar or honey in small increments—you may not need any; it all depends on the apples you’re using. If the sauce tastes flat, add a little lemon juice and/or cinnamon.
Let the sauce cool before refrigerating or freezing. The applesauce will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for about a week.