Why Applesauce Is An Important Part Of Amish Cuisine

With so many elements of modern cuisine utilizing the latest culinary technology, it's easy to forget how much of food's building blocks are easy to accomplish with basic tools. To illustrate this fact, you need not look any further than Amish culture, which eschews the trappings of contemporary life in favor of living more simply. A common side to the many dishes they make using just their hands (and kitchen tools that require no electricity), applesauce is ever-present throughout most Amish meals. Delicious as it is, especially homemade applesauce, you might not think it belongs as a constant on the table like butter, salt, and pepper. However, Amish people make a compelling argument for its omnipresence. 

Applesauce is relatively easy to make with the tools available to a traditional Amish household. With a hand-crank apple mill at your disposal — and a fair amount of elbow grease — you can take a dozen boiled apples and make a sauce in no time. Another benefit of using the hand crank method is that the machine easily separates the sauced apple meat from the unwanted peels. Just be sure to watch out for worms! 

The secret to making good homemade applesauce is using a few extra ingredients, like sugar and lemon juice, as apples alone often don't hit the proper balance of sweet and tart. While you should use a sweeter variety, yellow apples are recommended for applesauce because they cook down better than others, which can take longer and taste bitter. 

Why applesauce goes with every meal

Another reason the Amish tend to use applesauce as a go-to is that it tends to go with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and especially dessert because of its neutral taste. If you think about it, not many foods can boast the same versatility. For example, you can eat a big bowl of it plain or slather it on top of savory meats like sausage or ham to perfectly offset their natural saltiness with a spot of sweetness. 

In addition, applesauce is easily substituted in baking recipes for butter, eggs, or other oils one might use when making cakes or cookies. Even if you aren't using it as an ingredient, it's a wonderful dessert topping or a great substitute (or addition to) maple syrup to pour on top of some griddle-fried pancakes. With applesauce always on hand, the Amish can enjoy the sensational taste of autumn all year round; it's always the perfect time.

So, the next time you want to pair any number of main dishes with a potential side, look no further than a bushel of apples and your humble hand crank. Applesauce is always a great idea, but in the spirit of Amish traditions, make sure the light bulb that appears over your head when you get it is a kerosene lantern or hand-dipped candle. No electricity allowed, sorry!