This recipe is adapted from SimplyRecipes.com. Because we think it gives the sauce more flavor (and saves time) we didn’t peel or core the apples. If you don’t want to strain the applesauce, however, feel free to peel and core the fruit. We used Summer Rambos—a crisp, tart Granny Smith-style apple, but most apples (or a combination) will work nicely. If you use a sweeter variety, you might want to cut back on the sugar. When serving, sprinkle with additional ground cinnamon, if you like.
8 pounds apples, rinsed and cut into eighths
2 cups water, more if necessary
3/4 cup brown sugar or ¾ cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses
3 tablespoons juice and 4 strips zest from 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
Hefty pinch of salt
Bring all the ingredients to simmer over medium heat in a large soup kettle (to speed the process, use a heavy-bottom roasting pan set over two burners covered with a cookie sheet or heavy-duty foil). Reduce heat to low; continue to simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the apples completely fall apart, adding more water if necessary. Adjust seasonings, including sugar or salt.
Using a food mill or colander over a large bowl, strain applesauce and discard solids. Serve warm or chilled (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 weeks and frozen for 6 months or more.)