I have made almost all of Luke’s baby food, and I thought I would share a recipe with you that I love for applesauce. It is the easiest applesauce you will ever make, and it has endless possibilities.
My son is not a good sleeper. For most of his first year he slept in two 40 minute or less chunks. I didn’t do much else that year… But, we still needed to eat, and so did he. My saving grace has been my oven. I’ll try to cook anything in there once because that means my hands are free to stop one rascally little boy from putting things in an electrical outlet or something else equally dangerous and life-threatening. This applesauce recipe is one of my greatest successes at cooking while in another room.
No Fuss Applesauce for all!
Juice of one citrus fruit
Anything else you think is tasty… I’ll give some ideas below.
In your cast iron dutch oven put some apples that you have cut up. Nothing fancy here… it’s supposed to turn to mush! I leave the skin on and use that apple cutter thingy that cores and divides your apples into 8 wedges. I have also peeled them, quartered them, it doesn’t matter. I keep the skins on because there are probably some good nutrients in there that I can cook out. I usually save my bruised ones in the fridge for just such an occasion. Add the juice of one citrus fruit, I like orange with the apples. Now add a little water to the bottom of the pan; enough to cover the bottom to a depth of about half of an inch. If you are making a boatload of applesauce you might want to increase that some. Add your spices (we like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice), stir it together and bake in your oven at 350 degrees until the apples puff up really big and start to break apart easily. Timing depends on how much you make, but it takes a while. About 30-45 minutes for an average batch so put on some tea. When it is done you can finish the sauce with 1 Tbs of butter mixed in. I know what you’re thinking, but trust me it seriously improves the mouth feel of the applesauce. Depending on the ages of the kids eating the applesauce, you can push it through a fine mesh sieve, use an immersion blender, a food mill, or if you have peeled the apples first, just take a few strokes of a whisk through it for a chunkier texture. It’s so easy to make, you’ll wonder why you never tried this before! Mott’s has nothing on this applesauce!
Fun variations: Not content to rest with just plain applesauce, here are some of the tasty variations that we have tried!
Berry Applesauce: Add blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Use lemon instead of orange, and add some zest. (For little ones, be careful of the seeds and either strain them out or use the immersion blender to zap them.)
Cranberry Orange Applesauce: My husband’s favorite flavor combination had to be turned into applesauce. Fresh cranberries, orange juice and orange zest. Sometimes I sneak some cinnamon and clove in there too.
Pearsauce: Oh yeaaaah. This is good but it requires that the pear be more finely chopped than the apples to cook evenly and needs a little more water. Spices of choice? Cardamom and vanilla.
Try them out. Experiment. Let me know if you have created something delicious that I haven’t tried. I hope you enjoy cooking from you living room as much as I do!