If you have never made homemade applesauce, you should. Not only does it have an excellent effort-to-taste ratio, the final product far exceeds any grocery store shelf offering I've tried. Here's how you do it:
Wash some apples, cut them up in to large chunks and put them in a sauce pan. Add a splash of water or apple cider, put on a low flame and cover. The only thing you have to do is give them a stir now and then to prevent scorching. Eventually they will breakdown into a recognizable sauce. Run it through a sieve or a food mill to remove the seeds and skin and voila! you have applesauce.
You can also core and peel the apples before cooking them and save yourself the sieving in the end. It's your call as to which is less work, but I feel the core and skins help add flavor. If your apples are red and you leave the skins on, your applesauce will take on a nice rosy hue.
You can do this with a small amount of apples if you plan on eating up your sauce within the week. Or you can go hog wild and can up a case or two. A jar of homemade applesauce makes an excellent gift but having applesauce in my pantry throughout the year means something more to me than yumminess. It runs a thread through the seasons, bringing the celebration of autumn fruit to me in spring as I pry open my last precious jar and the appreciation for apple blossoms in the fall when the fruits are heavy, and the air is alive with the ripe, sticky scent of a promise fulfilled.
(Image: Dana Velden)