Get this: a simple applesauce recipe + clever packaging = one awesome holiday gift. We should warn you, though, that you might be tempted to keep it for yourself.
4½ pounds apples (such as McIntosh, Fuji, Cortland or Golden Delicious)--peeled, cored and diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
⅓ cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
½ cup apple cider or water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
2 one-pint (or 4 half-pint) mason jars, available at craft stores
1 roll washi tape, available at craft stores
Self-stick kraft-paper labels, available at craft stores
1. Make the Applesauce: In a medium pot, toss the apples with the lemon zest, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
2. Add the cider (or water) and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the apples are very soft, 25 to 30 minutes.
3. If using, stir in the vanilla extract.
4. Make the Packaging: Transfer the applesauce to the mason jars and fasten the lids. Apply a small piece of tape to each jar as pictured, placing one end at the center of the lid and the other end on the side of the jar. Place a label on each jar, over the tape, as shown.
5. Store the finished applesauce in the refrigerator until ready to serve or gift. The applesauce will keep for up to two and a half weeks in the refrigerator.