Making applesauce is one of my favorite fall projects. I love going to pick apples from nearby orchards (search here to find an orchard near you) but it’s just as easy to buy a bag of apples from the grocery store and use them to make a big batch of applesauce. Here are some easy directions to make applesauce from scratch. It’s simple enough that you can watch a movie while you do it, or involve kids in the process. If you want to can the applesauce jars so they’ll last longer, click here for instructions.

Step 1 Peel the apples

Use a sharp knife or peeler to take the skin off the apples. This is actually an optional step, as I’ve made applesauce with the skins still on. It just makes your applesauce occasionally chewy. If you don’t want to use the skin, you can compost it or use them in a recipe like this.

Step 2 Core and slice the apples.

I usually cut them into eight slices per apple. You can use one of those apple corers, but a knife works just as well.

Step 3 Put the apples in a large pot.

Add a cup of water, a half cup of sugar (optional), and two cinnamon sticks. Use a teaspoon of ground cinnamon if you don’t have sticks. Bring to a boil, then let simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Check the apples to see if they’re soft. If not, simmer for longer.

Step 4 Mash the apples.

Using a potato masher, smash the apples until they’re a good consistency for applesauce. It’ll depend on how chunky you like your applesauce.

Step 5 Jar the applesauce. And eat it!

This recipe works for 9-12 apples. If you want to add more apples, just increase the amount of time you let them simmer in Step 3. Yield is about four cups of applesauce.