Happy Labor Day! As today is the unofficial end of summer, tomorrow is (unofficially) the beginning of Fall! Fall makes me think of apples and apples make me think of applesauce and applesauce makes me think of my Great-Grandma Hollingsworth who used to make homemade applesauce for me and my brother when we were little. My brother liked his applesauce to be red, so Grandma would add some red food coloring to it.
I never got Grandma’s applesauce recipe before she passed away so I spent last Fall tinkering in the kitchen, trying to replicate her applesauce so that I can, one day, make it for my children and grandchildren. Luckily, I came up with a more natural way to make my applesauce red. I love the texture, flavor, aroma and color of this applesauce and hope you will enjoy it too.
6 pounds apples (use a mix of sweet varieties such as Gala, Fuji and Empire)
Good quality cranberry juice (no sugar added)
Ground cinnamon, to taste
Turbinado sugar (optional)
Wash, peel, core and dice apples; place in large saucepot. Add just enough cranberry juice to keep apples from sticking (start with 1/2 cup). Add cinnamon to taste (1 teaspoon is a good place to start). Add sugar to taste, if you are using it. Stir to combine, cover and slowly cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until apples are soft and cranberry juice is completely absorbed. If the cranberry juice is completely absorbed before the apples are fully soft, add a little more juice and continue cooking until apples are soft. Run cooked apples through a food mill or potato ricer (I use a potato ricer). Chill before serving.