Seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg and sweetened with honey, my recipe for Spiced Applesauce with Honey is something I’ve been making since my oldest child was a wee toddler. He still loves it today.
Naively, I used to think that my memory was special – it was long and detailed and, I thought, indestructible. I could vividly recount things that had happened all the way back to my early childhood. The textures, smells, sounds and feelings were as real as they were when they first happened.
But I was wrong.
As I’ve aged, so has my brain. Those crisp memories have faded, leaving fuzzy shapes and recollections in some cases. In others, the memories are just gone. I can no longer remember the names and faces and voices that once used to be so close to the surface. And looking back with the 20/20 vision of retrospect, I wish I journaled everything for all those years so that I could step back in time and relive the everyday minutiae of my childhood.
Memory fades. Even when yours seems brilliant.
I’m fortunate, though, that I have this blog. Through it, I have marked the years of my children’s childhoods. Will was just three months old when I first started writing Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Paige was born a few years later. When I dig through old recipes, I often find tidbits that help memories bubble to the surface.
I originally shared this recipe – Spiced Applesauce with Honey – a few months before Paige’s birth. (Thinking about that opened a floodgate of memories.) It was something I made for Will, canning and storing for winter so we’d have fresh applesauce.
I did that same thing this past weekend.
A few weeks ago, I was wooed by a bag of apples in the produce section and brought them home. The apples were a perfect size, just right for a snack. And they looked so fresh, so inviting. We ate them in earnest.
But that bag was so full, and we didn’t eat them as frequently as we should have. The apples needed to be used. Pronto. There they sat, practically inviting me to make something with them
Applesauce is comforting and cozy. It’s the fragrance of childhood mornings and the flavor of freedom and love.
Making this Spiced Applesauce with Honey recipe requires 5 ingredients (plus water) – Lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey and apples. The apples are peeled, chopped and mixed with a lemon-honey-spice mixture that gives this incredible flavor. It can be a little time consuming to peel all those apples and chop them, but the end result is worth it.
Once the apples are ready and in the lemon-honey-spice mixture, they’re boiled and simmered. As they cook, the apples soften and break down. A potato masher helps them achieve that familiar texture.
Then the Spiced Applesauce with Honey is ready for canning. The addition of the lemon juice acts as a preservative that makes this recipe save for water bath canning.
The filled jars of applesauce are processed in a water bath, boiling in the pot for 15 minutes. Then they’re removed to a surface (I use a cutting board) to cool completely. Once they’re cooled, tighten the lids.
Oh, how I love canning. I can’t wait to pull out one of these jars in the middle of winter.
Seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg and sweetened with honey, this Spiced Applesauce with Honey recipe is one of those things I’ve made for years and is a lovely reminder of days past. And, with a warm, spiced flavor, it’s a pleasantly flavored applesauce perfect for digging into.
This is also delicious with savory dishes like pork chops and potato pancakes.
Sarah’s Spiced Applesauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 7-8 cups apple chunks (peeled), about 12-14 apples
- In a large and heavy pot, combine the water, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir until well combined.
- Next, prepare the apples. Peal, core and cut them into chunks. Mix each chopped apple into the pot as you finish cutting to prevent browning.
- When all the apples are cut and mixed into the pot, turn on the stove to medium heat. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, until apples are soft. Remove from heat.
- Use a potato masher (the kind with a flat bottom) to mash the apples into the juices. Store as desired. These can be refrigerated for a few days, frozen or canned.
- To Can: Spoon the applesauce into five hot, scalded 1/2 pint containers leaving 1/2 inch of headroom. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes and then let cool on a rack or heat-proof plate before storing.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.