When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Ever heard that one? Following the same philosophy, you might be pretty thirsty here in Portland in the fall. Lemons are not in season. But apples are. When life gives you apples, what do you do? Make cider! Or,  in this case,  applesauce.

Of course, there are countless options for what to do with an apple, besides just crunching right into it as you pick it from the tree. But cider and applesauce are two basics. And applesauce is the easiest. As a variation on just another sliced apple in your child’s lunch, homemade applesauce is delicious but still healthy. It hardly takes much effort, just a bit of time being near the stove as the apples soften up and cook down. An apple-coring device is helpful but not necessary.

Start with the easiest applesauce this side of the kindergarten game of “criss cross, applesauce.” Check out this recipe from Mr. Rogers (he of the PBS Neighborhood, remember?). He has you peel the apples, though, which to my mind is an unnecessary nuisance. Even easier is this recipe for busy adults (and the kids who love them). From Monica Shaw's Smarter Fitter blog, a commonsense and thus super simple way to transform apples into sauce. (Not surprisingly, she's adapted her recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.)

Applesauce
Apples – as many as will fit into your biggest pot
salt (pinch)

Fill your biggest pot with about 1/2 inch of water and a generous pinch of salt.

Halve or quarter the apples and put them in the pot.

Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Uncover, turn down heat to medium, and let simmer, stirring/mashing occasionally, until apples reach desired consistency. This should take about half an hour.

Let it cool down a bit until its cool enough to handle.  Put the whole lot through a food mill. Eat some now, store the rest in the freezer.