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Sunday Roast: Tangy apple sauce with lemon and thyme recipe

homemade apple sauce with thymeTonight Danny cooked his roast pork with perfect crackling. Although he makes a great apple gravy to accompany this, I had a longing for the fluffiness and sparkle of some homemade apple sauce. A decent apple sauce is a joy with roast pork and it’s so easy to make. Our apple sauce is nothing like the apple purée that we feed to visiting babies. This sauce is on its toes.

We stored boxes of Bramley cooking apples in our barn through the winter. These are perfect for our sauce. For me, the hard bit is to remember to fetch the apples in before darkness falls. The lighting in the barn would make the dimmest night club seem dazzling.

Our cooking apples are softening and sweetening (a bit) so I only needed to add a teaspoonful of sugar to 450g of fruit. When the apples are fresh from the tree you may need more. It’s a good idea to sample a teeny slice before cooking, just to judge the tartness of your core ingredient.

Even if the apples are very sharp, always add some fresh lemon juice or even lemon zest. As with our Old Fashioned Apple Jelly, the lemon enhances the apple flavour. I played with the sauce this evening, adding fresh thyme and white wine. I think mint would be a good alternative to thyme, although I haven’t tried it yet. The flavour of D’s roast pork is very complex, a clean fresh sauce is the perfect compliment. Even if you are watching your figure, don’t ignore the knob of butter. It somehow transforms good to great.

When Danny tasted the sauce, he loved it. He did admit, just now, that he was dubious about the thyme. Sauces for a roast are a great opportunity to experiment and play. If they are a disaster, you have gravy as a fall back.

It’s worth making a decent amount of apple sauce, more than is required for the meal. It’s delicious with meat or cheese in sandwiches. It also freezes well.

Tangy apple sauce with lemon and thyme recipe


  • 450g of cooking apples. Peeled and cored and sliced into 1 cm slices
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice or half tsp of lemon zest
  • 1 tsp of sugar to taste
  • 1 flat tsp of chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp of dry white wine (you can supplement water if you don’t have wine to hand)
  • 1 tbsp of water
  • 1 large knob (25g) of butter


  1. Place the sliced apples in a saucepan, add the white wine, water, thyme and lemon juice and simmer over a low heat (with the lid on) until the apples soften and become fluffy.
  2. Taste the mixture before mashing the apples with a fork and adding the sugar (to taste) and butter.
  3. Simmer gently, lid off, for a few more minutes.
  4. The sauce should be light and fluffy. If it’s watery, simmer gently without a lid to evaporate the juices, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve this sauce warm with a roast joint or chops.

  Leave a reply


  1. Oops sorry pressed send lol!!!
    At this stage you might want to add both your cooked seperated batches together.
    Then add your vinegars and wine.
    Bring to the boil and reduce down to a low to medium heat for about an hour.
    If still very liquid just reduce further.

    If the mixture needs thickening add more sugar.This preserves the jam better and makes it more glossy and sticky.Also add a little vegetable gelatine to bind,but only a little bit!!

    To sterilise i wash jars in hot soapy water, put on a baking tray in the oven on the lowest setting for 45 mins,boil the lids for 15 mins.Pour hot mixture into hot jars.Expel all air bubbles on the sides of the jar.Use waxed discs,cellophane and elastic bands and screww lids on tight while still hot.
    My onion jam has lasted 3 months so far in the cupboard and a few weeks in the fridge opened.

    Hope you like this recipie as much as i do! I can honestly say im addicted to the stuff lol x

  2. Hi i have just made a delicious red onion marmalade and i found that my mixture just wasn’t thickening so i added another 300g to my 6lb batch and i acheived a more thicker and glossier mixture.To bind it further i sprinkled a small amount of vegetable gelatine powder and this has worked a treat!.Combined with the red wine,red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar i now have a very dark mahogany sumptious onion jam! Yum!
    Here is my recipie:
    6 lb of red onions
    650g golden caster sugar
    200g soft brown sugar
    150 ml balsamic vinegar
    400ml red wine
    100ml red wine vinegar
    6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
    2tsp of freshly ground pepper
    2tsp sea salt
    1/2tbsp of butter
    4 cloves of garlic
    Method: Finely chop onions( labour of love,but well worth it!)
    At this stage probably split all ingredients as this is a big batch that will make about 7x 410g jars.
    Put oil,garlic,salt pepper and butter in a large pot and heat.
    Soften onions on low heat for around 15 mins
    Cover onions with a large disc of grease proof paper( stops browning) and occaisionally stir.
    After 15 mins add the sugar.
    Replace disc and cook for a further 30 mins and stir occaisionally

  3. Helen Goddard

    Looks like a you have an interesting webside here and would be interested in the onion marmalade recipe if you have one. Many thanks.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Rachel

    Sorry to have taken so long to get back to you!

    As yet I don’t have a recipe but in the autumn I plan to develop one. If in the meantime you crack the code I’d love to hear about it.

  5. Rachel


    Have been reading all the archives with interest and great enjoyment!

    Would any of you happen to have a foolproof recipe for onion marmalade?

    I’ve tried about six now and just can’t seem to get any of them to gel – or keep!!.

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Peta,

    Thanks for leaving a comment and sharing your experiences. Much appreciated.

  7. Hi Liz

    I’ve made this sauce and put it into jars. So far (a month) it seems fine. I’ve needed to up the sugar a bit though, perhaps I have a sweet tooth!

    I’ve also made red onion marmalade last year – again, no problem with keeping it in jars, even when it has been opened.

    Just make sure you follow the rules for sterilisation first.


  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi LizO,

    You could try buying small Le Parfait jars and canning the apple sauce in them. It may have to be a bit sweeter, you would have to do some research on this. We “can” our Belgian Pears and our canning instructions are on the bottom of that post, in tips and tricks

    I am keen to make onion marmalade with a decent shelf life so will be rearching canning methods sometime between now and Christmas and will email you if I find some good ways around the problem.

  9. Hi
    Is there anyway of making apple sauce that would keep in sealed jars, or does it have to be frozen for storage. I have a lot of apples, not Bramleys but definitely cookers and would like to make sauce as well as jellies for Christmas hampers.
    I am so pleased to have found this site – I am learning some great new ways of preserving fruits etc
    LizO :o)

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