by Tara Hayes    
     Are you an applesauce fan? If you are, then
you're probably tired of wasting tastebud time on the
pale imitations of the real thing, right?
     The store bought, jarred applesauce is an
abomination to the applesauce faithful. Know why?
Because even though applesauce is characteristically
mushy, it's still supposed to have some apple flavor,
for heaven's sake. Unfortunately though, most
commercial applesauce tastes like sugar and more
     The remedy? Homemade applesauce, fresh and tasty.
Hey, it's just like Marvin and Tammy said years ago,
“Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby”. But, before we
start making applesauce, let's take a minute to delve
into the science that makes the apple treat possible.
     No doubt, you've probably got a preference for
either the smooth or the chunky or old-fashioned
textured applesauce. So, if you're going to make your
own, you need to know what and what not to do to get
the results you want. And that's where the science of
applesauce comes in.
     There's a glue-like substance between the rigid
apple cell walls called pectin. It's helps to maintain
the structural integrity of the apple's plant cell
walls. When an apple is cooked, its cell walls weaken
and rupture. The pectin between the cell walls
dissolves and the cells start to separate from each
other. The result? The once firm apple morphs into a
soft, mushy one .  
     But, suppose you like your applesauce
chunky-style? Science to the rescue again— just add
sugar. That's right, sugar added at the beginning of
cooking time helps retain the shape and some firmness
of the sliced apples. It slows down the degradation of
the pectin in the cell walls.
     So, what does this all mean? Add sugar to the
apples when you first start cooking them
and you'll end up with old-fashioned, chunky
applesauce. Let the apples cook and then add sugar
later and you'll have smooth applesauce. See, and you
thought you could make applesauce without good old
science. You know better than that.
     Now that you've grasped the chemistry behind
applesauce-making, you should also keep the following
in mind:
     * Start with apples you like. Try Granny Smith,
McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Gala, Red Delicious, or
Rome. You might even want to mix'll
add flavor and texture interest.
     * A squirt of lemon juice perks up the flavor of
bland apples and also cuts the sweetness of a
too-sweet applesauce. Consider substituting maple
syrup or honey as sweeteners.
     * For color and additional flavor, add cranberry
puree or juice, ground cinnamon candies,  grenadine
syrup (non-alcoholic sweetener used for Shirley Temple
drinks), pureed  maraschino cherries, or leave the
peel on the apple. Also, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice,
and cardamom add warmth to applesauce.


5 apples (your
choice), peeled, cored, chopped
one-half cup sugar (use one-fourth cup for less sweet
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
one-half teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons water
dash of salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, cook over
medium heat until apples are very tender, about 25
minutes. Mash with fork and leave chunky or process in
a blender for smooth applesauce.
     * Fresh, uncooked applesauce recipe: combine
apple chunks (peeled or peel on) with orange juice,
lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a blender. Process
to desired texture. Yummy!