Mainers associate the holidays with delicious foods, such as turkey and stuffing, pumpkin pie, apple pie, Christmas cookies, pecan pie, mashed potato and gravy, and many other dishes that appeal to the palate.
With a friend or loved one in mind, the perfect Christmas gift for that person could be the sweet taste of homemade Holiday Applesauce, made with Maine-grown apples and prepared right here in the Pine Tree State.
Place 5-6 quarts of clean, washed apples (Macs or Cortlands) in a 5-quart bowl. Place an apple slicer-corer on top of each apple and pushed downward to slice the apple into smaller sections. Toss out the core and place the remaining apple sections in a Dutch oven.
Leave the apple peels attached to add flavor and nutrients to the applesauce.
Add just enough water to the Dutch oven to keep the apple sections from sticking to the bottom of the oven. Be careful not to scorch the apples.
After adding half a teaspoon of salt, cook the apples until they begin to soften. Turn off the burner and remove the Dutch oven from the heat.
Place a pot beneath the food mill, then spoon the softened apples into the food mill while turning its handle. By passing through the food mill, the applesauce develops an even consistency.
Once all the apples have been processed in the food mill, heat the pot on the stove until the applesauce comes to a boil.
Add 1 to 1½ cups white sugar.
Add approximately 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.
Meanwhile, fill each pint glass jar to the brim with boiling water. Place the jar lids and rings in a pan of boiling water.
When the applesauce is ready, empty the water from a pint glass jar and spoon applesauce into it. Leave 1 inch of space at the top of the jar.
Clean any applesauce off the jar rim. Put on the jar lid and tightly screw on the jar ring.
Place the filled jars in a water-bath canner and fill it with enough hot water to cover the jars. Bring the canner to a boil and continue boiling for 20 minutes.
Use a jar gripper to remove the jars from the water-bath canner and place them on the counter. The lids will make “popping” sounds, which indicates they have sealed properly.
Recipe will make 6 to 7 pints.
Transform a pint jar of homemade applesauce into a personalized Christmas present by adding a decorative label and a ribbon. Remove the jar ring and place a decorative Christmas cupcake liner upside down over the jar lid.
Replace the jar ring and admire the pretty gift that will provide its recipient with the homemade taste of the holidays.