We picked up two five gallon buckets full of apples that were laying on the ground from our tree which we have never sprayed. We do not have any animals except squirrels and an occasional cat who may wander through our yard. Should I make applesauce and pies out of the apples or, in an abundance of caution, compost them?
You should have no problem making apple sauce and pies from your apples. I would suggest washing them well, peeling and cutting off all the bad spots, then cooking them for sauce.
The problem with canning applesauce from wind falls is that they have a higher microorganism count and the sauce will sometimes mold even when processed properly. This is why we recommend peeling apples first and then reheating the sauce to boiling before putting it into the jars before processing. If you don't want to can the sauce it will freeze well with no problems.
Only if you are going to can the apple sauce do you need to reheat the sauce to boiling. For freezing, just cool it and freeze.