Cinnamon Applesauce by Larry Andersen



Our apple trees in Alaska were bountiful. They were not big apples but there were lots of them. In the past the City of Anchorage had beautification program and each year they had a give a limited number of fruit trees of various kinds for the public to plant. Over several years of the program we were able to obtain several Nordland apple trees .The Nordland is well suited for colder climates. A neighbor had also planted a pair of the trees from the program. Over several years the trees grew but never gave any fruit. About to throw them out, they offered them to us. We replanted them in our little orchard where they quickly adapted and began to bear fruit. The consequence was that we had more apples than we could use. We made fried apples, apple pies, apple fritters and even made some apple butter. We ended each year giving away apples by the five-gallon buckets full to all who were interested. That is when we learned how to make cinnamon applesauce.

At first we used ground cinnamon to make our sauce. The beautiful golden applesauce color changed to a slightly muddy brown with the cinnamon. It tasted very good but the color just wasnt right. From our candy making we were aware of cinnamon oil, a very concentrated cinnamon flavoring; a couple of drops will make cinnamon candy and a drop or two more will make cinnamon red hots. A half a dozen drops are enough to give an eight pint batch of applesauce the warm inviting aroma and taste of cinnamon all the while maintaining the luscious golden color of the applesauce.

Preparation: Time Life Experience Recipe
Makes about 8 pints
  • 15 pounds tart cooking apples
  • 1/4 cup Lemon juice
  1. The apples are cooked skin and all. Wash well to remove any agricultural sprays or any soil or surface contaminates that may have accumulated in harvest and transport to the market; any insects that may have hitched a ride. Be sure to remove the labels as well.
  2. I normally use my apple corer and slicer to cut the apples but could not find it on this day. Therefore I used the tried and true method of the knife and quartered them and sliced off the seeds and stems.

  3. Fifteen pounds of prepared apples will fill an eight quart pot to almost overflowing. As the apples cook and soften the apple level in the pot will drop considerably. I add an almost full teakettle of boiling water (about 4 cups) to the pot and heat over medium heat. During the cooking process the apples will release a lot of their moisture. Adding any more water would cause an overflow and spillage. Adding the boiling water reduces the time for the water to reach cooking temperature and lessens the time the apples in the bottom are cooking even before the top apples are heated. Heating over medium heart also helps to reduce the time the apples on the bottom are at a high temperature before the top apples even start to cook.
  4. Place the lid over the top of the apples. As the apples cook the lid will settle into place. Monitor the pot and adjust the heat to avoid boil-overs. When bubbles start to appear reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer.

  5. Cook until the apples are soft fork tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Allow the apples to cool to a safe handling temperature.
  6. You will have to cook the apples to remove water and thicken the sauce; transfer as little as possible of the cooking water with the apples. The next step is to puree the cooked apples. If you seldom make apple sauce and in very small batches you can use a strainer sieve and a large spoon to strain through a sieve. It is a traditional and time consuming task. You can speed up the task by using a food mill or a spiral strainer . I have used a spiral strainer (there are many brands and many use the same product under a different product label) for many years and found it to be a very useful tool. After making so many jars of applesauce over the years we finally decided it was time to update and we purchased a strainer attachment for our KitchenAid Stand Mixer. I just wish we had done it sooner. Strain the apple with the tools at hand and place the puree into a four-quart cooking pot.

  7. Heat the puree over medium heat until simmering; reduce heat to just simmer. Add lemon juice to the puree. The lemon juice adds acidity to the mix for a safer canning and the ascorbic acid helps to prevent browning and preserve the natural color of the apples. Some people skip the lemon juice and use Fruit Fresh or similar product instead. Always check with your local university extension or the National Center for Hone Food Preservation for up-to-date home canning procedures.
  8. Add the sugar in increments, stirring between additions, and taster. The tartness of the apples varies from year to year and you will need to adjust the sugar accordingly to your taste preference. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until enough water has evaporated and the sauce is the desired consistency. Add the cinnamon oil a few drops at a time. Stir well and taste, it will be about 6 or 7 drops or to taste.

  9. Ladle the hot sauce into prepared jars using the approved procedures and being careful to maintain sterile home canning conditions. Top with two-piece lids and hot water bath for fifteen minutes for pints (adjusted for altitude), twenty minutes for quarts.
  10. After the hot water bath set the jars on racks to cool; not on a cold surface. After cooling and bottles have sealed, remove rings and wash bottles. If I am sending or taking the bottlers somewhere I leave a ring loosely attached to protect the cap. When storing the bottles I remove the ring. If a bottle does leak and something starts to grow I dont want a tight ring to conceal the fact.

    Cinnamon oil can be found in many store featuring baking, candy making or arts and crafts supplies. We have usually purchased our flavoring supplies from LorAnn Oils and Flavors and have been very satisfied with the service and quality.

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