Homemade applesauce is both easy and versatile -- it makes an excellent starter food for infants, and it can be adapted as the start to several delicious desserts that are safe for numerous diets. I prefer to leave the peels on when making this for ease and nutrition, since they almost disintegrate with long cooking, but it really is your choice. This recipe can be doubled or halved, and will freeze well.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
- 6 large apples (any variety; I like Fuji, Braeburn, or Granny Smiths)
- Approximately 2 c pure apple cider
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- Brown sugar & lemon juice (to taste)
- Peel apples (if desired.) Core the apples and cut them into 1-inch pieces.
- In a saucepan, bring the apples and cider to a boil over medium-high heat.
- When the cider has come to a rolling boil, turn the heat down to warm. Add the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and salt, and simmer gently for at least 40 minutes, or until the applesauce has reached the texture you prefer.
- Before serving, taste applesauce and balance the sweet and tart flavors with brown sugar and lemon juice, if necessary.
Modifications for Young Infants
Applesauce makes an excellent starter baby food. Cook the applesauce using just peeled apples and cider, avoiding the salt, spices, sugar, and lemon for young infants on their earliest solid foods. Puree the applesauce as finely as possible, ideally using a food mill.
This applesauce can form the basis of several different desserts. Among the easiest: cook the applesauce for a shorter amount of time (around 20 minutes), and top with your favorite allergy-safe granola and whipped cream, or a dairy-free whipped topping. You can also experiment with adding seasonal fruits like peaches, pears, or berries to the applesauce; apples are mild enough to cooperate with almost any fruit flavor.