Nan’s Applesauce

Here in New England, the leaves are changing color, the night air has a bite to it, we’re in short sleeves and shorts one day, and our winter coats another, and rain gear the next.

It only means one thing, winter is coming.

However, it is Fall, which is the quintessential season for apples. Our local farmer’s market is inundated with softball sized, beautiful crisp apples. Ours look like the rejects that sit on the nerd tree in the apple orchard, wishing they could be remotely as cool as the beautiful ones that get chosen to live at the farmer’s market. Ours are irregularly shaped and pocked like someone shot a pellet gun through them as they were growing.


This is perhaps 1/4 of what is left from the original bushel. It’s gone to many a delightful thing, like applesauce, various apple cakes, apple cider, etc.

But we are at literal war with all undomesticated furry things: bears, squirrels, chipmunks, even the coyotes. Like pellet and shotgun war.

Sorry to anyone who thinks every furry critter has a right to life, but when Mother Nature’s furry friends are keeping you awake at night, destroying your work by eating all your crops and potentially ruining next year’s crop, and literally shitting on your front walkway, the pellets and shotguns will come out.

Mother Nature’s creatures are sorta cute from a distance, but when they think your crops are their daily grocery store run, the game is off. War is on.

I played nice. I thought you were cute for about 2 days in the beginning of the summer, and then I got tired of you taking my crops. Tired of you getting into my closed garbage cans. I got tired of stepping in your piles of dung.

It’s bad enough I have to chase the buggers out of my yard; I have no desire to invite those furry bastards into my house so they can further fatten themselves before they hibernate for the long winter. War on.

I’m actually shocked we managed to pick a bushel of apples before the furry fuckers – aka the squirrels, chipmunks, bears, and coyotes [screaming oversized night-rats] literally stripped the tree of its fruit. Like stripped the trees’ limbs off. Forget the Asian pear crop. Had two massively loaded trees 2 days ago. Gone today.

I hope it makes them barf. Knowing those wankers, it’ll likely be on my back porch.

Alrighty then. Rant over. Now you know a day in my life right now.

This Nanny gave me this recipe after I gulped down almost a whole jar one night many moons ago. This Nanny was sweet Nanny, not mean, back-handed slap Nan who showed me how to can. This Nanny was sister to Aunt Arlene who gave me the Tomato Flip recipe. This is the Nanny who gave us Nan’s Mac & Cheese.

I do miss all the Nans. Even mean Nan. They invoke nostalgia. They bring back good memories. Or funny stories cause one could be so nasty.

We’ve made multiple batches of Nanny Karp’s applesauce so far this season. We love it. We prefer it chunky so it can be something that we enjoy with our meals.

We add the sugar because like Nan always used to say, a little sugar only made us all a little sweeter.

Nan's Applesauce

Simply comfort food. 

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword apple, apples, applesauce, canning, Fall, fall baking, Fall recipes, family, family recipe, grandma, Mother Nature, recipe, snack
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Nanny Karp


  • 8 cups apples peeled, cored, & chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • splash nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice necessary if canning. Optional if not.


  1. Peel, core, and roughly chop apples

  2. Put water into bottom of large stockpot, and then add apples.

  3. Cook apples on low until very soft, then add spices and sugar.

  4. Cook until applesauce becomes desired consistency. If you want totally smooth sauce, run an immersion blender through sauce or run through a food processor. 

Recipe Notes

You can absolutely make this applesauce without sugar. I simply make this version in honor of my husband's long departed Nan Karp because it reminds me of her. And she was a believer that a little sugar never hurt a soul.

I prefer my sauce on the chunky side. This makes it something that can be served nicely with dinner as an actual side dish. Heat it up...OMG. So good.

If you want to can this sauce, don't be like me. Make sure you add the requisite acid to can the applesauce. Just add 2 tbsp lemon juice. That should be good for this amount of apples. But trust me, if your family is like mine, this isn't worth canning. It gets hoarked down right out of the pot. However, if you're also like us and tend to over-indulge at an apple orchard, or you grow your own, canning is a lovely option to save the flavors of the Fall season.


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