This blog is courtesy of Healthy Living Tastemaker Paula Tancredi Penman

Along with the Upstate NY/Vermont apple picking season comes the plethora of applesauce recipes. Apple sauce is too easy and too basic relative to the numbers of how-to instructions popping up online as soon as the fall season begins. However, the one thing often missing from recipes are the little tips that can make a recipe better or easier. So, as I begin my applesauce making, I offer these tips to you.


Tip 1: Peel your apples over the crock pot. That way the juice that will inevitably drip down the peeler and down your hand will be included in your applesauce.

Tip 2: Use a hand peeler. Why? Because there is no other way to get the love into the apple sauce. You must touch and feel your apples and think happy thoughts. My sister and I have the same spaghetti sauce recipe passed down to us from our grandmother. Whenever she has spaghetti at my house she always comments on how my sauce tastes betters . . . and it is true. So I asked her a few questions such as how she adds the garlic to the sauce and my suspicion was correct: she minces it. “No, no, no!” I told her. You must shave each sliver into the pot. Enjoy the journey. It makes a difference . . . for spaghetti sauce and applesauce.

Tip 3: Slice your apples by hand with a knife on a plate. Why? First, see the rationale for Tip 2. Secondly, the apple slicer is man-made, while apples are not. So slices tend to be uneven and sometimes your slices include the core and seeds. You do not want seeds in your applesauce. Or worse, you do not want the hard shell around the seed in your applesauce. That hard shell around the apple seed is difficult to spot when you do not slice each piece by hand. And those hard shells are awful in applesauce: they taste bad, feel bad, and you can avoid the whole matter by hand slicing the apples. And when you slice them on a plate, you catch the juice which you can then add to the crockpot. Remember, there are not short cuts to love!

Tip 4: Add a bit of nutmeg as well as cinnamon; it will make your applesauce heartier. Cover the apple slices in cinnamon and then add a dash (5-7 shakes) of nutmeg when the crockpot is half full and then again when the pot is full.

Tip 5: Stir the applesauce at the 3 hour mark. This way the apples on the bottom do not cook more than those on the top and, more importantly, that cinnamon and nutmeg will mix with all the apples and juices during the remaining hour.

Tip 6: There is no need to puree the applesauce and create the need to clean another kitchen appliance. For very yummy semi-chunky applesauce simply stir the apples right in the crockpot.

Tip 7: Water can to preserve as holiday gifts. I have people waiting right now for their holiday applesauce. This is good stuff and is especially appreciated by those who do not need more Christmas sweaters, holiday ornaments, or “Greatest Grandma” mugs. Consumable gifts are highly valued because they do not take up space for very long and will not be found at the garage sale or being re-gifted.

Tip 8: Yes! You can preserve your applesauce without special equipment. I preserve my applesauce using my stock pot and put my stainless steel steamer upside down so the jars do not rest on the bottom of the pot.

Tip 9: Dress up your jars and make it a fun gift. A simple piece of fabric brightens every jar lid. Additionally, think of adding a personal label, fun stickers, and serving ideas such as “try warm over vanilla ice cream.”

Tip 10: Try warm over vanilla ice cream. Specifically, try this applesauce over Alden’s Organic Vanilla Bean ice cream. Warm up the applesauce and put it over the creamiest ice cream you have ever tasted. Even as a chocolate lover, I crave this treat.

Ten tips and no applesauce recipe, or was there? Well, it is the time of year for tricks and treats, so if you found a recipe woven between the tips, good for you. Happy Apple Picking. Happy Applesauce Making. Happy Fall.