For a pretty, pink-hued applesauce, use red-skinned apples and don’t peel them before cooking. If you prefer a sweet applesauce, stir ½ cup packed light brown sugar into warm, blended applesauce. Let stand, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. If you are not into canning, the applesauce may be placed in zip-top plastic freezer bags and frozen up to 2 months.
Both apples and cranberries are naturally high in pectin, the component that causes food to “gel.” That means you won’t have to add supplements to get the jam to firm up, making this a great recipe for beginning canners. You can process the jam in large, 1-pint jars, but I like to use small, picnic-size jars to give as gifts.
Serve with bone-in chicken pieces, pork chops, or ham slices. Because the sauce contains sugar, bake or grill the meat until 10 minutes from being done. Brush all sides and continue cooking until sauce has caramelized and meat is coated.
Ideal Apples: As with applesauce, apple butter has a more complex, interesting flavor when a few different varieties of apples are used. Use the same apples as you would for applesauce (McIntosh, Cortland, Fuji, Braeburn, or Rome) or choose spicier varieties like Winesap.