We’re at the start of apple season in Vermont, and orchards across the state are getting ready to greet thousands of people who pick their own. You almost always pick more than you can eat, so it’s helpful to have some go-to apple recipes that are simple, tasty and healthy that everyone loves. Applesauce fits that bill nicely, and the homemade version is so much better than what you buy in a jar.

Simply simmer sliced apples with a little water or apple cider until soft. Keep the skins on for added flavor and color. The type of apple you choose will determine the cooking time:  A firm Cortland will take slightly longer to cook than a soft Macintosh. The sauce can be passed through a food mill to make a smooth sauce, or served slightly chunky. The spice in this recipe doesn’t imply heat; it’s a combination of spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves — that just sing out Fall’s praises.

Ingredientsapples from the orchard

  • ½ cup sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 8 medium cooking apples (such as Cortland or Macintosh), 2 pounds, cored and thinly sliced

Cooking Directions

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. With a wooden spoon, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes to release the flavor from the spices.

Add the apples and cover. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Don’t overcook the apples, as they will continue to cook off the heat.

For a smoother sauce, mash the apples with a form or run them through a food mill to puree. Serve warm, or refrigerate and serve cold