Quite often farmers markets sell bags of “seconds” – fruit that is bruised or blemished at a discounted price – which is my favorite for making applesauce. Since you’re cooking the fruit down completely a few bruises are fine. Rosemary, a very powerful, woody herb may sound like a strange ingredient to pair with applesauce but the flavor is delicious and subtle. I keep the sauce simple and skip spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, and instead of sugar I add fresh cider to naturally sweeten. You won’t even miss the sugar!
makes 2 quarts
5 pounds apples, peeled, quartered and cored
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 cup apple cider
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed, ovenproof pot toss apples, lemon zest and juice and cider. Place rosemary sprig on top of apples. Cover with an ovenproof lid and bake until apples have broken down and are very soft, about 60 to 70 minutes.
Remove rosemary sprig and stir. Set applesauce aside to cool completely. Refrigerate applesauce in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
Enjoy this Cranberry Applesauce as one of my Applesauce Three Ways recipes.