Many varieties of apples are grown and readily available in the U.S. and Canada. Most are suitable for preparing applesauce, but some of the best choices include Cortland, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Rome Beauty .
Choose apples that are firm, without bruises or brown spots, and store in the refrigerator. Wash apples before using.
To make basic applesauce, peel, core and coarsely chop 2 pounds (900 g) of apples. Combine apples, 2 Tbsp. water and 2 tsp. lemon juice in saucepan; cover. Cook on low heat 10 to 15 min. or until apples are very soft, stirring occasionally. Add sugar to taste (1 Tbsp. to ¼ cup). Cook and stir 5 to 10 min. or until sugar is dissolved. Use a potato masher to create a chunky sauce, or puree the mixture in a blender, food processor or food mill for a smoother sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add more water. If the sauce is too thin, return to saucepan and simmer, uncovered, until reduced and slightly thickened. Store in refrigerator.
For a change of pace, try this quick microwave recipe using your favourite KRAFT Jam: KRAFT Apple-icious Applesauce.
Apples vary widely in their flavour, sweetness and tartness. Always cook the applesauce first before adding sugar so that you can adjust the sweetness to your liking. Try a combination of apples and experiment with what's available locally.
Honey, brown sugar or molasses can all be used to sweeten applesauce. Each gives a different flavour and intensity.
Lemon juice helps prevent the apples from turning brown.
You can avoid peeling the apples if you pass the finished sauce through a strainer to remove the bits of peel. Red-skinned apples will create a lovely pink-coloured sauce.
Jazz up your applesauce with these mix-in suggestions:
Canned crushed pineapple
Raisins, dried cherries or dried cranberries
½ tsp. vanilla or almond extract
Your favourite ground spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or cloves.
Freeze applesauce in airtight containers or freezer-weight resealable plastic bags up to 3 months.
Applesauce is delicious warm or cold. Serve it as a side dish, as a condiment with pork or chicken dishes, or use in these great recipes: