A healthy snack I like to make for my children is applesauce. It isn’t something I made frequently when we lived in the USA, because you can find it in a variety of flavours & brands in almost every grocery store. However, that is not the case in Gaborone. I have managed to find small jars of plain applesauce in Super Spar and Woolworths, but the price (somewhere in the BWP 30-40 range) nearly takes my breath away!
Having grown up in a frugal family, I’ve come to appreciate the ability to make things myself for much cheaper. Today, I purchased a bag of Fuji Apples from Super Spar (1.5 KG bag which is about 8 large apples) for BWP 14.95. With a cup of water and a teaspoon of cinnamon, I managed to make a quart size jar (just shy of a litre) of homemade applesauce.
Warning!! Your house will smell amazing, so be prepared for everyone to ask what you are making. Even better, make it before a play-date or a family dinner and it will be win-win! Healthy snack & a great smelling home! Enjoy!
Here is how I did it:
Wash your apples in clean water. If you have an apple corer/slicer gadget then use that to cut the core out and slice your apples. Then cut the slices in half again to get uniform size chunks.
Put your apple chunks into a pot. I used a French oven (enamel coated cast iron), but any stainless steel pot will do.
Start by adding ½ cup of water and 1 tsp of ground cinnamon. Give the apples a toss and put the lid on your pot.
Set the pot to cook on low-medium low heat. Set a kitchen timer (especially if your kids are as distracting as mine!) and check on it in 10 minutes. Stir the apples and check the water level. If the bottom of the pot is getting a little dry, then add another ¼ cup of water.
Turn down the heat to low if you find the apples are starting to scorch. Continue this process for a total of 30-40 minutes. You may find that you use your entire cup of water, but I like to make thicker applesauce so I don’t dump all my water in from the beginning just in case my apples manage to release a lot of juice.
After the apples can be mashed with a fork, then remove the pot from the heat. If you own an immersion blender then you can blend the apples right away in the pot to the consistency that you like. Since the peels are still on the apple chunks, I tend to puree mine for quite a while. If you don’t own an immersion blender, then wait for the mixture to cool before loading it into a blender and pureeing. If you puree hot apples the steam can pop the lid off and the hot applesauce could burn you.
After you are done pureeing, grab a glass jar (try Consol jars found at Super Spar) or store in a BPA-free plastic container. It will probably be safe in your refrigerator for up to a week, but ours never lasts that long because the kids think it is so delicious! The best part: no added sugar, and you saved a ton of pula!
Alternative Cooking Methods:
Try slow cooking on high for 4 hours (or low for 8 hours) in your slow-cooker or pressure cooking in an electric pressure cooker under high pressure for 7 minutes then quick-releasing the steam. (I do find the pressure cooker sauce to be a bit watery if I use the full cup as all the steam stays inside the pot until you release it).
Add peaches for peach-apple flavour; blueberries for blueberry applesauce, and pears for pear applesauce. I haven’t tried these yet, but you could play around with quantities to get the desired flavour combination!
You can definitely use golden delicious, gala apples, and granny smith apples, though with the granny smith your kids may like a bit of honey added as a natural sweetener as they are so tart. You could also use a mix of apples: 3 fuji, 3 golden delicious, 2 granny smith.
Servings – 1 quart
1.5 kg/ 8 large apples (any variety)
240 ml/ 1 cup water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Core & chop apples and place in a pot.
- Add ½ c. water and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Cover with lid
- Set timer for 10 minutes, then stir apples & adjust water content.
- Continue stirring every 10 minutes and adjusting water level until you can mash the apples with a fork easily ~30-40 minutes.
- Puree with an immersion blender right away or cool mixture before pureeing with a blender.
- Serve warm or store in a glass or BPA-free container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.