By Kathryn McLean

The start of September often feels like extended summer as the calendar changes but the weather tends to stay warm and bright.

But now October is here along with its cooler air. I’m finding that orange and yellow leaves are collecting in the gutters. The morning air warrants a sweater or jacket to get us through to midday.

Pumpkins and gourds, corn stalks and hay bales are decorating neighbourhood homes and local businesses, and fall flavours are popping up everywhere! Apple pie, quash soup, fruit crumble and pumpkin pie. Cinnamon and pumpkin spice added to everything.

And, of course, it’s time for apple picking! Many families make an afternoon of visiting an apple orchard and picking their own apples.

Kids love to pick apples so families often come home with more than they really planned, and more than they can expect to simply eat as hand fruit.

So what can you do with all those fresh local apples?! How about making applesauce? Homemade applesauce is simple to make, and all you need is apples.

Enjoy your freshly made applesauce with breakfast or as a dessert. It can also be eaten as a sweet condiment alongside savoury dishes, especially pork. Try the basic applesauce recipe below and serve the same batch in either a savoury or sweet way.

Think about customizing the sauce to suit your family’s favourite flavours. Add a pinch of ground cinnamon to the cooked and pureed apples, and simply stir it through the sauce. Or make berry apple sauce by including ⅓ cup fresh or frozen berries when cooking the apples.

Try adding a pinch of colourful sprinkles to the top of each dish when you serve the homemade applesauce. And consider adding some chopped chives or fresh black pepper to make the sauce-as-a-savoury-side-dish a little more special.

Apple Sauce

  • 4 large sweet apples (such as Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, MacIntosh, Paula Red or Pink Lady) cored and cut into 1-inch chunks; peeling the apples is optional, but recommended for varieties with thick, tough skin like MacIntosh and Paula Red
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ⅔ cup fresh or frozen berries, optional

Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan, cover and bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 5-10 minutes or until apples are soft and can easily be pierced with the tip of a sharp knife or the tines of a fork. The time will vary depending on the type of apple used because some varieties are firmer and crisper than others.

Allow the cooked apples to cool slightly; do not strain.

Mash or puree the apples (with berries, if using) until nearly smooth. You can use a fork or vegetable masher, or an immersion blender, upright blender or food processor.

Four large apples will make approximately three cups of applesauce, but the recipe can easily be doubled to make a larger batch.

Store the cooked applesauce in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week.