Transform just about any apple into the most appley applesauce ever. Your secret weapon? The peels.
Place apples in large saucepan. Add water, salt, and cinnamon (if using).
Cover and cook over medium heat until apples are soft and broken down, 20 to 25 minutes. During cooking, use oven mitts to remove lid and use rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stir a few times.
Turn off heat and slide saucepan to cool burner. Uncover and let apples cool for at least 15 minutes.
Set food mill over large bowl (ask an adult to show you how). Working in batches, use ladle to transfer apples to food mill basket. Crank apples through food mill into bowl. Discard skins and seeds left behind in food mill.
Apple skin is full of flavor and aroma compounds, which is why this applesauce tastes more, well, appley! Keeping the peels on during cooking transfers apple flavor and a pretty pink color to the finished applesauce. But the peels aren’t that fun to eat, so we had to find a way to take them out after cooking. Enter: the food mill. This handy tool pushes the cooked insides of the apples through small holes, making the applesauce smooth, and leaves the peels behind. Bonus: It leaves the cores and seeds behind, too, so there’s no need to peel or core the apples before cooking!
Do you have leftover apples from apple picking? Great! This applesauce works with just about any apple, even those that may have turned a little mushy. Different types of apples make different colors of applesauce—red apples make a pinker sauce, and green or yellow apples make a yellower sauce. The only apples we didn’t like for applesauce were Red and Golden Delicious—Red Delicious were too sweet, and Golden Delicious never fully broke down. Experiment with different kinds of apples to find your favorite!