Summer Apples and MeMa's Applesauce Recipe


When is apple season? Most Americans are going to answer “fall, of course,” October to be exact. We tend to relate the crisp autumn air and apple picking with each other. The fact is that apple season can start early June. It does feel a little odd to be picking ripe apples with green cherries around and before peaches are even close to ripening!


What are the characteristics of these early apples? To quote Grandma Greuel, “They’re only good for sauce.” She did indeed turn the entire crop of early apples into fantastic sweet-tart apple sauce. Her favorite variety of the summer apples is Lodi. A very typical summer apple it is large, soft and yellowish-green with a smooth skin. There are a few apples held in high regard during the summer for eating out of hand such as 'Gravenstein' and 'Paula Red'. These apples hold a “moment in the sun” — they are slightly crisp for just a few days and then they turn soft and mushy. I prefer to pick summer apples a little early when they are firmer and tart like a tree-ripened Granny Smith.

We have a few notable early apples in our orchard. 'Yellow Transparent' is an old-time favorite and is sometimes confused with a similar apple called 'May'. May apple has the earliest fruit in our orchard and has the strange habit of blooming twice a year and sometimes produces a second late crop. If you do a little research you will find that most early apples have many synonyms which can include terms like “Juneating” or “Early Harvest.” This makes discerning apples types difficult as they were marketed with so many different names — sometimes a different one from nursery to nursery.

I have found a local bakery here in Kansas City called MeMa’s. They produce unbelievable cookies and cakes — many of which include apples (which is why I was there). The owner, Cassie, was kind enough to give me her applesauce recipe. 

MeMa’s Applesauce Recipe

  • 6 cups apples, peeled, cored, chopped (might want to run through a food processor for a minute) 
  • 3/4 cup water 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1/4 cup white sugar 

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine apples, water, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in sugar, and simmer 5 more minutes. 

8/30/2017 7:41:48 PM

Early Harvest Apples are different from the Yellow Transparent. The Early Harvest have a greenish to orange blush. The flesh is a little firmer than the Yellow Transparent, which has a thinner skin which is pale yellowish green. I think the Yellow Transparent is a bit more tart which lends itself to a smooth baby food style applesauce that has a real tang.

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