One of the benefits of today’s food distribution and technology is our ability to buy apples all year long. While I love buying apples from one of Minnesota’s 137 apple orchards, I know I can buy apples from my local grocery store any time of the year which allows me to make homemade applesauce all year long.
What variety of apples is best for applesauce ?
You can use any variety of apple and is really based on your personal preference. Apples that will cook and soften faster are Fuji, Golden Delicious, and McIntosh. If you want to know more about specific apple varieties, refer to USApple website.
How to Make Applesauce
Starting with a basic applesauce recipe, it’s easy to make adjustments based on your preference. Do you like sweeter applesauce? Just add more sugar. Do you like cinnamon? Add enough to satisfy your palate. And, yes, you can also make it without adding any sugar.
There are multiple ways to cook down your apples. The recipe suggest using a crockpot (which works good). You can also use an InstaPot or cook them on your stove top.
My grandson loves homemade applesauce! I love that he can see and experience the process of making applesauce directly from apples. As I supervised him, he helped me make a batch and loved every minute.
NOTE: The basic recipe calls for peeling, coring, and thinly slice the apples and then mash the apples after cooking. This is a great method and I have used my crockpot many times. Another method uses a food strainer that attaches to a mixer. Using a food strainer eliminates the need to peel and core.
I also love that you can freeze applesauce up to 3 months–nice if you make a big batch and want to store some for later.
Growing apples in minnesota
If you are interested in growing apples in Minnesota, check out the University of Minnesota Extension website–a site with lots of valuable information that will help you be successful in growing apples.
There are numerous activities/lessons/books that can be coordinated with apples. Here are just a few:
A is for Apples – Minnesota Ag in the Classroom. Grades K-2. Students will use the five senses to investigate apples, identify and model the parts of an apple, make applesauce, and learn how apples are grown.
Apple Science: Comparing Apples and Onions – Minnesota Ag in the Classroom. Grades 3-5. Students will explore heredity concepts by comparing observable traits of apples and onions, collecting data on the traits of different apple varieties, and learning about apple production. Additional activities include hands-on methods for testing apple ripeness.
Apple Genetics: A Tasty Phenomenon – Minnesota Ag in the Classroom. Grades 6-8. Using the context of apples, students will apply their knowledge of heredity and genetics to distinguish between sexual and asexual reproduction as they explain how new varieties of apples are developed and then propagated to meet consumer demand for a tasty, uniform, consistent product.
Apples and the Science of Genetic Selection – Minnesota Ag in the Classroom. Grades 9-12. Students will distinguish between natural and artificial selection and use a student-centered learning activity to see how science and genetics have been used to artificially select apples for specific traits like color, texture, taste, and crispness.
If you know an educator, feel free to pass this list along to them.