Natural Chunky Applesauce

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Makes about 6-8 cups.

Tip: Applesauce may seem like an old-fashioned dish when made from scratch. After all, what could be more convenient than those individual cups that pack so neatly in a lunch bag? But is it really delicious? Make one batch of this natural chunky applesauce using a small variety of apples as a comparison. I predict you’ll be very surprised that something this easy can taste so wonderful.

5-6 lbs apples of a mixed variety (at least 3 types recommended for best flavor)
Note: I used McIntosh, Envy and Honeycrisp this time. Nice flavor and texture combination.
1/2 cup apple cider (can use water if cider not available)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon (This will provide just a hint of cinnamon in this batch size. OK to leave out or use more if you prefer a strong cinnamon flavor.)

Wash, peel, core and cut each apple into large chunks (quarters or eighths); place into large Dutch oven for stove-top cooking.

Pour apple cider over apple chunks.

Place pan over medium-high heat; bring apples and cider to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1/2 hour; check and stir about every 10 minutes. At the 20-30 minute point, use a potato masher to smash the cooked apples before they turn totally mushy. You want some small chunks remaining for a nice texture. You may have to check and smash more than once if the apple varieties cook at different rates.

When you have the desired slightly chunky texture, squeeze the juice from the 1/2 lemon over the fruit, add the cinnamon and stir all ingredients together. Cool completely; refrigerate in covered container(s). This will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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