Remember that time I picked an obscene amount of apples at the orchard? Well, over 2 months has passed and there are still 5 pounds of (past their prime) apples sitting in my fridge, desperately needing love. Upon returning home from Michigan after the holidays, I pulled the last of my Calville Blanc d'Hiver apples out of the fridge and made a batch of my favorite homemade applesauce. In my microwave. That's right. Microwave Applesauce. Or, as we affectionately call it, "Awesomesauce".
Cooking applesauce in a microwave takes a mere 10 minutes as opposed to the half hour you'd spend cooking it on the stovetop. I learned this method from Alton Brown, and haven't made traditional stovetop applesauce since (sorry, Grandma!). The hands-off microwave technique and an ingredient list of five always-have-them-around staples make whipping up a batch of homemade applesauce so easy, you'll wonder why you ever buy it pre-made.
The best apples for applesauce are sweet-tart, crisp apples with a lot of apple-y flavor - Golden Delicious is an easy-to-find option. You'll peel and core the apples, chop them into slices, and toss them into a large microwave-safe bowl with a bit of brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and water. After 10 minutes in the microwave, the apples will be soft, lightly sweet, and deeply spiced. A minute with a potato masher will transform them into a chunky homemade applesauce that puts store-bought applesauce to shame.
Homemade Applesauce (aka "Awesomesauce")
makes 1 quart (4 cups)
2 1/2 pounds sweet-tart, crisp apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into eights
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large microwave safe container, add the apples, water, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and vanilla, tossing to coat the apples. Transfer to microwave and cover with a lid, plate, or splatter cover, leaving a gap for steam to escape. Microwave on high for 10 minutes. Remove from microwave and mash apples with a potato masher until you achieve a chunky applesauce texture. Cool completely before transferring to a storage container and storing in fridge.