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Place the peeled, cored, quartered and chopped apples in a large pot. Stir in the 1/2 cup of water, lemon juice, sugar (if using), 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and cover pot with a tight-fitting lid. Maintain a low simmer for 30 minutes or until the apples are completely soft and cooked through.
Once fully cooked, remove from heat. For chunky applesauce, mash the apples directly in the pot using a potato masher. For smooth applesauce, add the apples to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth (if using a blender, work in batches and allow time to cool), or use a hand-held immersion blender and blend directly in the pot.
This applesauce is delicious served warm or cold.