I know, you are wondering why a blog about applesauce, when it is still in the throes of summer. To be honest, I found out the secret to the best applesauce in the world by accident.
When we first moved to Nebraska, our neighbor brought me a couple of 5 gallon pails of apples late one August afternoon. It was surprising to see apples ready so soon, having grown up going to U pic farms in the late fall and picking crisp Macintosh apples while the wind blew my hair into eyes. These apples looked a lot like those wild ones that are a little bit pitted with nooks and crannies; the way a flower bed looks when the owner loses interest.
I faithfully cut out the wormy bits and placed all the apples into a large stockpot, adding just enough water to avoid scorching them before they had a chance to sweat. Cooking all day, the apples smelled the same as fall variety. I figured that even if they ended up being tart enough to pucker your mouth, I could always just make apple bread all winter long.
But once I pressed those softened apples through my food mill, all thoughts of apple bread vanished. What came through, was the silkiest applesauce you have ever seen. It tasted just like apple cider - tangy and sweet. I divide my canned sauce into sweetened for my husband, and completely sugar free for me and the kids. This sauce was so delicious, it was deemed The Special Sauce and marked with Summer Apples, to save for occasions that warranted an extra treat.
Summer apples are ready right now. If you get a chance to buy or pick some, please do. They are not much good for pie making, as their soft texture breaks down too much in a pie. They should be savored as a luscious sauce, for the winter months. Then, in the fall, go pick your pie apples and check back here, for how to store them.