One of my family’s favorite comfort foods is warm homemade applesauce. Peeling apples isn’t my favorite kitchen task, so I don’t make this applesauce recipe often enough. But when I do make it, everyone around me ends up smiling. This is a great way to use apples that are bruised or otherwise imperfect. We have a well-stocked reduced produce cart at my Stop and Shop store, and I can sometimes get organic apples for $1 or less per pound.
I recommend using different types of apples for this recipe. Homemade applesauce doesn’t need any extra flavoring in my opinion. However, to make a special treat I add a little maple syrup and fresh cinnamon in this applesauce recipe. This is a big batch, so I process the jars in a boiling water bath to extend their shelf life. If you want to skip the canning step, you can refrigerate these jars for a week or two. If you won’t be eating all the applesauce within that time frame, you can freeze it.
Maple Cinnamon Applesauce
$.91 per cup
- 6 lbs apples cored, sliced, and peeled
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 3/4 cup maple syrup or to taste
- 4 cinnamon sticks
Prepare the apples by slicing, coring, and peeling them. I recommend teaching your children how to use a vegetable peeler. It makes this whole process much more pleasant for everyone. It’s a lot of work for one person to do all that chopping and peeling.
In a 9x13 inch pan (or similar), pour 3 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add the peeled apple sections to the lemon water as you’re working. This will keep the apples from turning brown.
Once all the apples are ready, place them in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon sticks. Also add about 2 cups of water so the apples don’t stick to the bottom of the pan during cooking.
Cover the pot and bring the water just to a boil. Lower the temperature to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are very tender. The time will vary according to what type of apple you’re using. Stir periodically when simmering the apples.
Remove the cinnamon sticks and mash the apples to the thickness you desire. If you want it very smooth (like store-bought applesauce), you can puree it in a food processor. I do it by hand with a potato masher.
After mashing, return the cinnamon sticks to the applesauce and simmer gently (uncovered) for 5 more minutes. You want to cook off some of the excess water.
If you want to can the applesauce, it should be done in a hot water bath for 20 minutes with 1/2 inch headspace. See the Ball applesauce recipe noted below for details.
This will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator if you don’t can it. The canned version will keep for many months.
The method here is adapted from the Ball applesauce recipe.
Maple Cinnamon Applesauce Recipe Price Breakdown
This recipe yields 5 pints (10 cups) of applesauce. The cost will depend on the price you pay for apples. You can often find seconds for $1 per pound. At that rate, this recipe costs a total of $9.08, or $1.82 per pint. This is about $.50 more than you’d pay for a pint of store-brand applesauce containers at Target. The taste of this homemade applesauce is dramatically better though, and it makes a wonderful gift.