Rosy McApple Sauce

Cold, silky smooth, tart fresh apple sauce is the perfect accompaniment to crisp hot potato latkes. This apple sauce is the most lovely shade of pink, because it is cooked with the colorful skins of the apples left on, and mildly spicy because it is cooked with a whole cinnamon stick.

You will be surprised to know what strong feelings I have about such a simple gentle dish as apple sauce. It was over apple sauce that I made my first stand as a child of two years of age. I remember, I think, that it was scary but that my aversion was such that I had to do it. From my highchair I cried out to my grandmother in despair, “I don’t want Aunt Margaret to feed me; she gives me yumps in the apple sauce!”

Growing up, I can’t remember a time when Grandma didn’t have an enamel saucepan of apple sauce cooling under the sink, but I would never eat any because she made the lumpy variety. Since she wasn’t willing to strain it, she had to buy baby apple sauce for me.

In all these years, my taste in apple sauce has never changed, except that now I can make it myself and have the delicious fresh flavor and the smooth texture.

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KEEPS: 1 week refrigerated.
room temperature volume ounces/pounds grams/kilograms
6 medium McIntosh apples 2 to pounds 907 grams to 1 kilogram, 21 grams
sugar ½ cup, or more to taste 3.5 ounces 100 grams
lemon juice, freshly squeezed (1 large lemon) 2 tablespoons
1 3-inch cinnamon stick*

*Use the supermarket variety; the specialty store cinnamon sticks have a much more intense flavor and, if available, would require only about 1 inch for the same results.


Wash the apples well but do not peel them. Cut them in quarters and cut away the cores. Cut each quarter in half lengthwise and then crosswise and place them in a heavy medium-size saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the ½ cup sugar and the lemon juice and toss to blend. Add the cinnamon stick and set aside for 20 minutes. (About ½ cup of liquid will be exuded from the apples.)

Heat over medium heat just until the liquid starts to boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover tightly and cook for 20 minutes. Stir the apples and continue cooking, covered, for another 20 minutes, stirring two or three times. The apples should have softened completely. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool until warm or room temperature.

Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Pass the apples through a fine sieve, such as a strainer, Cuisinart power strainer, Squeezo Tomato Strainer with the fine screen or a food mill. (A food mill will result in a coarser apple sauce.) Stir in more sugar by the teaspoonful if desired. Refrigerate, tightly covered, until serving time.