Grandma's Applesauce

My Grandma is one of the best cooks I know. Every time I visit my grandparents on their farm, my grandmother, without exception, prepares a beautiful feast. She always jokes that her food "isn't any good," but my family knows better, reassuring her once again that no one can cook like she can. She's a humble cook, but knows her way around the kitchen.

She's never one to shy away from butter and cream, knowing that sometimes you need a little butter to get cubed potatoes perfectly browned. She knows how to cook a mean roast which falls apart at the mere sight of a fork. At the holidays, she makes some of the most brilliant German food I have ever eaten (or will ever eat). If I could be half the cook my grandmother is, I would feel satisfied for the rest of my life.

My Grandma encouraged me to experiment in the kitchen when I was younger. No culinary thought or idea that popped in my head was too ridiculous to give a try. In some ways, she was the first person to help me realize that I loved not only eating food, but preparing food.

I remember one wintry, blustery day in particular. My sister and I were staying the weekend and it was too cold to venture outside. For a mid-morning snack, my grandmother often made us chocolate chip muffins from a stash of box mixes she kept in the pantry. On this particular day, as she brought out one of the familiar mixes, I had a wild idea. I felt the urge to make a few batches of muffins to see which brand was actually the bestβ€”a side-by-side taste test, if you will. Without hesitation, my grandmother agreed it was a brilliant idea.

My sister, my grandma, and I each tackled a brand on our own. Though we ended up making 36 chocolate chip muffins for just the three of us, there was, without a doubt, a clear winner. Pillsbury brand had the most chocolate chips (an important muffin trait for me), required less ingredients to make, and tasted the moistest and lightest (and now you know too!).

Though I'm afraid many of those muffins were never eaten, my grandmother taught me that it was okay to try something new, that no idea (in the kitchen or otherwise) was too crazy to give a shot, and that sometimes it's okay to make 36 muffins for 3 people.

This applesauce is one of her tried and true recipes. I grew up on this applesauce, eating it both warm and cold, loving everything about it. It seems only fitting to share my grandmother's applesauce wisdom with you.

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My Grandmother's Applesauce is chunky, soft, and tender, with just a hint of spice. Using only four ingredients, she proves that it's all you need to create a masterpiece. The apples are thinly sliced and cooked on the stove until tender. I love the chunky nature of this applesauce; it gives the finished product a beautiful, soft variation in texture. However, the applesauce can be pureed if you want a smoother texture. This recipe is simple, easy to follow, and creates homemade applesauce you can be proud to share.

One Year Ago: Baked Apple Chips

Grandma's Applesauce

Yields 4 servings

4-5 large apples (or 6-9 small apples), peeled and cored
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cut the apples into 1/8-inch slices and cut those slices in half. Put the apples in a saucepan and add the lemon juice and 3/4 cup water. Stir apples to coat thoroughly with the mixture. Cover the apples and cook over medium heat for 7 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of your apples. I'd recommend starting with 1/4 cup and increasing the sugar until you reach the desired sweetness. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook uncovered until water evaporates and and apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon.

Store applesauce in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Though this apple sauce can be served warm or cold, I prefer it warm. This would also be perfect with a little cream or served on top of ice cream.