Many years ago, my friend Susie taught me how to make her special homemade applesauce. As far as I'm concerned, any homemade applesauce is special, but hers was even more special because it was always pink!
Susie's favorite apples to use are Paula Reds, which I can't find where I live, but our local apple orchards grow several varieties of red-skinned apples that make wonderful applesauce so I make do with what is available. If you can find them, Rome Beauties have a deep red skin, and often they will have streaks of pink running inside them too. And here's a really neat trick I picked up somewhere along the way - to deepen the pink color even more, toss in a few ruby red or purple plums while cooking the apples.
I don't find it necessary to add any sugar to my finished applesauce, but you certainly can if you feel your batch needs it - just add it to taste. Feel free to sprinkle in a little ground cinnamon too, if you like.
A food mill makes it easy to remove the apple skins, but if you don't have one, peel the apples first, then add the peels to the pot while the apples cook. Pull the peels out before processing the sauce.
Wash apples well, cut in half and remove seeds and stems. Do not peel the skins.
Cut each half into quarters.
If using plums (optional), cut in half and remove pits. Do not peel.
Place cut fruit in stockpot.
Add 1 cup of water (or apple juice if you have it).
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently.
Here's what it should look like after 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool before processing through a food mill. Store in the refrigerator in airtight containers and use within a week. Can be frozen as well - just thaw overnight in the fridge.
Perfectly Pink Applesauce
4 pounds red-skinned cooking apples (Rome Beauty, Ida Red, Paula Red, etc)
4 dark red or purple-skinned plums (Methley, Redheart, Rubyqueen, etc)
1 cup water (or apple juice)
Wash apples well, cut in half, and remove core (don't peel); cut each half into quarters.
Wash plums well, cut in half, and remove pit (don't peel).
In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, combine the apples, plums, and water.
Cook, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes or until the apples are soft.
Turn off the heat and allow the apples to cool until you're ready to process them into sauce.
Using a food mill, remove skins and process the apples to the texture you prefer (I like to use the medium disk for applesauce).
Taste and adjust sweetness by adding little sugar if needed (I almost never add sugar).
Refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to a year.
Note: if you don't have a food mill, here's how you can make the applesauce. Simply peel the apples and add the peeled skins to the pot while the apples cook, then remove the skins before pulsing apples in a food processor or blender. For chunky applesauce, use a potato masher. Also, if you can't find dark colored plums, make you can still make the pink applesauce, but the finished color won't be quite as deep (see photo to the right).