Honey Roasted Applesauce

RECIPE UPDATED 11/11/2022

It was only in the last several years that I jumped on the homemade applesauce train and had my personal "duh" moment. The flavor and texture blow store-bought versions away, it's easy to make, and you can load up your freezer with the stuff.

Recipe Tips

Skip the Sugar

Many applesauce recipes call for sugar and/or some sort of juice such as apple cider. When buying fruit at peak season it needs little help from us humans so I humbly suggest that you skip the granulated sugar or other boosters. For a little natural sweetness, honey is the perfect pairing and you won't need much.

Mix it Up

A mix of apple varieties - both tart and sweet - will yield the best balance.

Roasting vs. Stovetop

I roast half of the apples and then simmer the rest to maintain some brightness in the sauce. If you want to skip the roasting step the applesauce will turn out just fine. The texture is a bit looser and the flavor not quite as rich, but it will still taste far better than anything you can buy in the store.

Tools

Windrose Farm apples at the Santa Monica Farmers Market

Apples from Windrose Farm at the Santa Monica Farmers Market

Ingredients

  • 6 pounds of apples (both sweet and tart), cored, peeled, and quartered Note: To minimize oxidation (browning), simply toss the cut apples in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon juice until ready to roast or simmer.
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (this is not the lemon juice you used for the bowl of water)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon Note: I only use cinnamon for a touch of warmth and sometimes not at all depending on my cooking mood.

Instructions

Roast

  • Heat oven to 375°F.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and then lay a piece of parchment paper on top of it.
  • Spread half of the apples out in an even layer, then pour the lemon juice and honey over the top and toss around to coat.
  • Roast for 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours until very soft, tossing and turning the apples a few times during the cooking process.

Simmer

  • In a Dutch oven or similar pot, add the remaining apples and 1/4 cup of water.
  • Cook the apples over medium heat and reduce to medium-low if the apples start to "boil", simmer covered until soft.
  • Add your roasted apples and cinnamon to the pot and mash.
  • You could stop at mashing for chunky applesauce, otherwise go to the next step.

Purée

  • Method 1 - Put all of the mashed apples into a food processor and process until smooth, scraping the bowl once or twice.
  • Method 2 - Run the apple mixture through a food mill. Note: This is my preference from a texture perspective.

Finish

Depending on how juicy the apples are, I sometimes continue to gently cook the puréed applesauce until it thickens slightly.

Storage

Applesauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 -3 days and it freezes beautifully.

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