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The best applesauce has pears in it.

During apple season our local market sells a wonderful variety of very fresh apples. They also sell “second quality” apples in big boxes at a discount. At this time of year I like to make a bunch of applesauce, and freeze most of it for the winter and spring.

Of course I’ve got my weird ideas about how to best make applesauce. I like to add pears because I think it adds a nice slightly-floral element. I also add lemon juice while cooking, because back circa 2011 I read part of The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook and it described how pectin, sugar, and acid combine to make jelly. Apples are high in pectin and sugar, so just adding lemon juice while cooking seems to result in a smoother, “fuller” texture. All the tweaks and spices and stuff are totally optional, though, because you can make a really nice applesauce with nothing but apples.



  1. Wash the apples, then quarter and core but don’t peel them
    • If using pears I do actually peel those because I don’t like the texture of the pear peel.
    • I usually cut the apples into small chunks to make them pack more compactly into the pot, but it’s not necessary.
  2. Put all the apple and pear into the pot over medium-high heat and cover.
    • I like to add a splash of water at the beginning to generate some steam and get the whole pot warming quickly without overcooking the apples at the bottom.
    • I should probably add the pears later, to preserve the aromatics. Maybe I’ll try that next time.
  3. Add a dash of salt if you want. I’m not sure why I add it – superstition?
  4. Mix occasionally, making sure the stuff at the top gets a turn at the bottom.
  5. Once there’s plenty of liquid at the bottom add the lemon juice (if using) and any spices.
    • You can be pretty liberal with the cinnamon, 2 tablespoons isn’t unreasonable, but be sparing with the cardamom and nutmeg.
  6. Continue cooking until everything is pretty soft and then either use an immersion blender or puree batches in a traditional blender. I like to get it really, really smooth and consistent.
    • Be careful: if you’re pureeing in the pot on a hot stove the boiling applesauce can fling globs of 200°+ goo at your face. I get small burns pretty much every time I make this.
  7. Cook, covered for your safety, for a little longer.
  8. Serve hot or cold, maybe with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top, or with some frozen blueberries and nuts mixed in.
Last modified: 2023-11-23 07:50:17 -0500 -0500 • For full version history, see github
Ingredient tags: apples pears lemons cinnamon cardamom nutmeg ginger