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My mom was fond of making sauce. I think the one she made the most was rhubarb sauce. We all loved rhubarb and always had a really good patch.
In fact, the patch was so good, it won 1st place ribbons at the East Ottertail County Fair for years.The stalks had such a pretty red color and were so fresh and crisp.
Mom made pies, cakes, jams, and sauces all year long, as she often froze it. But it was best fresh from the garden, I always thought. (If you want to learn more about how to grow rhubarb here is a link.)
But in the fall, she always got a bunch of apples from a family friend. His name was Old Jonny and he had a huge garden right behind us. He didn't live behind us though...he lived on the other side of the train tracks and walked over every day to work in his garden. It was a huge garden, and he had it all fenced in. He didn't like us kids to play in the garden, but we were always welcome to come visit him when he was working it.
He always had nickels in his pockets and would give us each one. He told wonderful stories. He was pretty old....couldn't hear very well...and I was always amazed at how far he walked to tend his garden, and then work hours at it. But he loved it, and that's probably what kept him going so well for so long. I remember once when he fell and I had to run and get my dad. I was so scared, but he was fine. My dad gave him a ride home that night. The next day he was back in his garden!
We all loved Old Jonny. My mom would often send me over with cookies or baked goods for him. In turn, he would often send over bags of apples from his trees.
Mom would make a pie or two, but mostly made them into apple sauce. Sometimes she put sugar in the recipe, like the one I'm sharing with you, but often she left it unsweetened. This recipe is not overly sweet either. She always had red hots on hand for decorating cookies and I loved to grab a few and stir them into the sauce when it was still warm. I still do!
Years after Old Jonny was gone, mom still made applesauce. When my kids were little they always had homemade sauces instead of baby food. She made them apple, peach, and pear sauce. She loved to buy crates of fruit and can them.
What I wouldn't give for some of my mom's canned goods! I loved her dill pickles and pickled beets, but her applesauce was pretty awesome too!
4-5 large apples, peeled and sliced
1/3 to 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Simmer slowly on the stove until apples are tender. Mash to desired consistency.