How to Make Applesauce

I’m digitizing our collection of recipes. It’s gotten a bit unwieldy over time, and these days, we’re just more likely to use an electronic recipe than one on paper.

Photo of two reddish apples on a branch against a blue sky.
“Apple” by Alessio Maffeis, CC BY 2.0

A lot of this was easy, collecting links to recipes we’d printed out a long time ago, when that was the way we worked. Some of it required copying recipes to a new file to incorporate the changes we’d made to make them ours. Now I’m doing the hard part, the handwritten recipes.

It’s not the typing that makes it hard. It’s the depersonalizing. It’s taking the quirks of gifts and rendering them all in pixels and plain fonts. It’s knowing that even though I plan to keep these pages, we’ll hardly look at them again when there are easier copies to use.

The recipes resist depersonalization, though. They resist standardization. They can’t be fit into a normal recipe format without losing the knowledge they contain. In celebration of that and of the people who live on in these recipes, here’s what my grandmother wanted me to know when I asked her for her special applesauce recipe.

Apple Sauce

Wash, quarter, and core 2-1/2 lbs apples. Put in sauce pan and partly cover with water. Old apples require more water than new ones. Simmer until tender. Put through food mill, or blend skin and all. Return pulp to sauce pan. Add enough sugar to make palatable. Cook gently 3 minutes. Check for sweetness (need more sugar?). Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. If apples are tasteless variety, add drop of lemon.


Thick Type

Wash, peel, core, and slice about 8 tart apples. In saucepan, add 1 cup water to 1 lb apples. Simmer until tender. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar, dash of salt, 1 tsp lemon juice (if apples aren’t too tart), 1/8 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg. Taste—add more sugar? Cook 1 minute more. Serve cold. Good topped with whipped cream or ice cream.


There are so many varieties of apples it is difficult to make a definitive recipe. Have fun.

It’s apple season here. I think this would be a good year to make some apple sauce.

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How to Make Applesauce

One thought on “How to Make Applesauce

  1. 1

    And did you ever notice? Those old school cooks tasted, then adjusted, then (oh horrors) used the same spoon to taste again until the recipe was right. Keeping it bubbling away would kill about anything, but nobody ever gave it a second thought. By then we were all immunized to whatever stray microbes our mothers carried. The point was the taste was perfect.

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