Most applesauce recipes call for a variety of soft, tart and crisp baking apples. Apples are available all year long, though varieties will differ with season. Learn which kinds of apples are good for making applesauce so you can choose variety combinations that will make the best sauce.
Tart Apple Varieties
Tart apples make for excellent applesauce because they allow the cook to alter or control the sweetness by adding sugar to taste. Baldwin, Rome and Jonathan apples are good all-purpose varieties because they are juicy and mildly tart. Green apples are juicy and tart, and their crispness gives a nice, thick texture to homemade applesauce. Blushing golden are another tart apple variety that are firm like a golden delicious apple, but tarter, making for a better applesauce choice.
Soft Apple Varieties
McIntosh, Northern Spy and Cortland apples are all small, soft apples with white, juicy flesh. They cook down quickly and are easily mashed, making for good applesauce varieties. Stayman apples are a semi-soft variety that are good to use in applesauce that is made with more soft apples than tart or baking varieties, because Staymans will add texture to the sauce and prevent it from becoming too mushy or watery.
Sweet and Baking Apples
Some sweet apple varieties are used in applesauce, pies and other cooking recipes because the natural sugars in the juice and flesh of the apple will caramelize during baking, giving cooked foods a thicker texture. Their firm flesh also helps keep applesauce from becoming mushy or thin. Fuji and Gali apples are two of the best baking varieties you can use for applesauce, due to their perfect combination of firmness, juiciness and sweetness. Fuji and Gala apples are also among the most common grocery store varieties, because they are also popular apples for eating fresh. Remember to keep sweet apples to a minimum, when possible. You can easily add sweetness to your applesauce with sugar, but decreasing the sweetness of applesauce is much more difficult.
Apples to Avoid When Making Applesauce
Golden Delicious apples are sweet, crisp and juicy when eaten fresh, but they do not make the best choice for applesauce, because of the mild, bland flavor they develop when cooked. Braeburn apples have an airy, white flesh that quickly breaks down when cooked, resulting in significant reduction. Though Empire apples are a McIntosh variety type, they are a juicy variety that can water down homemade sauces. Arkansas Black is a popular baking apple, but its flesh is hard and difficult to mash, making it an unwise choice for applesauce.
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