Apple Picking at Mount Hood
Just about an hour and a half from our home are quaint towns, nestled at the base of Oregon’s Mount Hood. In early Autumn, the sun still shines warmly, and apple picking is in full swing. There are numerous orchards and local farms on which you can pick your own produce. We’ve made it an annual tradition to visit the family-run Kiyokawa Orchards and pick apples! This year we filled a 20 pound box of apples, which means I got to make chunky apple sauce for the first time! 🍎🍏 It’s one of the highlights of Autumn to go apple picking & homemade apple sauce is not far around the corner!
Treasure Hunting for Apples
It feels like a treasure hunt to find the best apples for different recipes out in the orchard. Depending on how you plan to eat your apples, different varieties will serve you better. For example, apple sauce is best made with McIntosh and Golden Delicious, since they are softer and break down faster. But for an apple pie when you want the apples to maintain their shape in the oven and not turn to goop, firmer varieties like Granny Smith and Honeycrisp are best. Just at Kiyokawa Family Orchards there are over one hundred varieties of apples!
Making Chunky Applesauce at Home
I’ve been experimenting with making more food at home this season, like bread and dairy-free butter (more on that to come soon!) So when we came home with twenty pounds of fresh organic apples, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to make homemade apple sauce. And it’s really quite simple – simmer apples with a few spices and sugar in a pot on the stove. In just half an hour, you’ll have delicious homemade apple sauce, without any preservatives! I canned mine in a boiling water bath, to be able to preserve the apple sauce as a treat in the dead of Winter. But you can make a batch of this chunky homemade apple sauce and not can/preserve it, because it will likely be gone within a few days!
Apples naturally release juices as they simmer, so you don’t need to add any liquid to the pot. And with less than a cup of sugar in total, this apple sauce is a healthy topping on pancakes, crepes and oatmeal. Or stir it with some yogurt and granola. Heck, eat it right out of the pot with a spoon! It’s so delicious! 🍎
Homemade Chunky Apple Sauce
- 5 pounds apples, peeled and chopped See blog post above for best varieties for making apple sauce.
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cloves
- Peel and roughly chop the apples. Pour them along with the sugars and spices into a large pot on the stove on medium-low heat.
- Simmer, stirring often for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the apples have released a lot of their juice and are easily mashed with a spoon.Turn off the stove and remove the pot from the heat. Using the back of a spoon, a potato masher, or an immersion blender, mash up the apples in the pot. You can mash them as much or as little as you like, depending on how chunky you want your apple sauce.
- Enjoy warm from the pot, or let cool completely then store in the fridge. For tips on canning/preserving your apple sauce, check out USDA's canning guidelines.