Happy Apple Week: Day One -- Basic Applesauce Recipe

The second week of August is dedicated to one of the best fruits: apples. The beauty of apples is all their flavors; the United States only has one third of the varieties of apples found throughout the world. Used in a variety of savory and sweet dishes, they're also great by themselves. I guess you could say I love apples.

To kick-start this week-long apple celebration, I have decided to make one of the most well-recognized apple-based dishes: applesauce. We've all had applesauce in our lunchboxes as children and have probably used it in baked goods as a healthy substitution for oil or butter.

Here's our first recipe of the week, which pays tribute to the wonderful, naturally sweet flavors of the apple.

I always prefer to have a chunkier applesauce instead of a smooth and silky applesauce. The apples are my favorite part, so having a little extra crunch makes it ten times better.

I also like to use tart apples when I make applesauce. Cooking tart Granny Smith apples with cinnamon and brown sugar results in a sweet and comforting treat.

To start making the applesauce, we have to start with fresh apples. So, peel the skin off with an apple peeler and chop the apples into bite-size pieces. My grandpa could peel off the skin of an apple in one continuous peel...with a pocket knife. Unfortunately, skills like that are not hereditary.

Once you have chopped the apples, place them in a small sauce pot. I made one serving of applesauce and ended up using only one apple. If you want to make a larger amount of applesauce, you'll need to use a larger pot.

Now, add some good stuff to these apples: brown sugar, ground cinnamon and vanilla. Everyone has their version of applesauce, so, of course, you can add other seasonings like nutmeg, cloves, salt, lemon or white sugar, but I like to keep it simple and enhance the apples with a few basic flavors.

When you have added all the ingredients in a sauce pot, cover and cook over medium-low for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The apples need to be soft enough to mash with a potato masher.

You can serve it hot or cold, whichever way you prefer. This is definitely the way to kick off apple week. Come back tomorrow for another apple recipe.

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