We have a wonderful little apple orchard right up the road from us. Most people think Indiana is super flat, but Southern Indiana is actually quite hilly, and to get up to this orchard you climb a beautiful, windy country road up the side of a steep hill. When you crest the hill, you see sprawling fields of apple trees on one side, and miles and miles of brightly colored fall leaves on the other. Picking apples there is pretty much the epitome of a picture-perfect fall experience (especially when you add in the freshly fried apple cider donuts they make—drool).
I like to hit up this orchard every fall to stock up on apples. Apples are one of the few fruits out there that are excellent for keeping. If you just give apples the right conditions (just above freezing and damp) and pick the right kind of apples (the tart varieties store best– less sugar means less of a chance to go bad), you can keep apples through the entire winter. I’ve had great luck storing apples in the crisper of our basement fridge.
I just load up the crisper with apples, and then dampen a tea towel and lay it over top of them. Every few days (usually when I go in to grab some apples), I use a nearby spray bottle of water to dampen the towel again. I’ve stored Stayman Winesap apples—a tart storage apple that we get at our local orchard—this way all the way until the next spring! They were a little wrinkly, but still perfect for turning into a pie.
Don’t have a spare fridge (or a root cellar) to store your apples this winter? Well, another good option is to make applesauce in your Instant Pot and freeze it! That is, if it even makes it to the freezer. Homemade applesauce is one of those foods that sounds too simple to be delicious, but you somehow can’t stop your spoon from dipping into the batch!
The Instant Pot makes quick work of applesauce. We’re talking only five minutes of cook time here! And no more babysitting a pot to make sure the sauce doesn’t stick—the process is mostly hands-off. The resulting applesauce is flavorful, sweet, and as smooth or as chunky as you want it to be! You control the final texture with your immersion blender.
I like Instant Pot applesauce with cinnamon and a touch of lemon juice, but honestly, even just plain apples will be delicious! Feel free to adjust the recipe below to fit your personal taste preferences. Happy fall!