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Making pink applesauce lets you skip the tedious step of peeling the apples, since the color comes from the skins. Also, “it’s just prettier,” says Martha. From her harvest, she chooses the reddest-skinned, whitest-fleshed fruits for her sauce.
6 pounds apples (such as 4 pounds McIntosh and 2 pounds red-skinned apples with very white flesh, such as Cortland or Empire)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
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Quarter and core apples. (For white applesauce, peel the apples first.)
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Transfer apples to a large stockpot. Add 1 1/2 cups water, lemon juice, and sugar.
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Cover mixture and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and cook, partially covered, still stirring occasionally, until apples are very soft, about 40 minutes.
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To puree apples and strain out skins, use a food mill with the fine disk, as shown, or push apples through a medium sieve with a wooden spoon. (Martha uses this method: She removes the skins post-cooking and lightly mashes the apples for a clear, not cloudy, sauce; she doesn’t mind a few lumps.)
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