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1. Tie thyme sprigs with clean kitchen string. In 8-qt. Dutch oven combine apples, thyme, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until apples just begin to break up, stirring occasionally. Remove thyme. With potato masher or large spoon mash apples slightly. Sweeten to taste with granulated sugar.
2. Cool completely. Ladle applesauce into half-pint freezer containers, leaving a 1/2-inch head space; seal and label. Store 3 weeks in refrigerator or up to 6 months in freezer. Makes about 7 half-pints (12, 1/2-cup servings).
3. Stir before serving. Sprinkle with brown sugar and thyme.