Me? I like both!
But honestly? One of my favorite apple treats is pretty basic. I love homemade applesauce! Today I want to show you just how easy it is to make, and how easy it is to can your own homemade applesauce
How to Can Applesauce (step by step tutorial)
But first you need the apples!
Tart, crunchy, pie apples are my favorite to use in applesauce. Apples like the ones we picked from our aunt’s tree. (When you have a small garden that you’ve already over-planted, you are quite thankful for generous family members 🙂 )
If you don’t have a tree in your yard, then your next best option is to find them at a local orchard. While you are there, make sure to pick up a gallon of fresh apple cider. Sooo yummy!
Your last option should be the grocery store. McIntosh or Jonagolds are good choices for homemade applesauce.
My general rule of thumbs: you will need 12 – 14 pounds of apples to make 7-8 pints of applesauce.
(1) Prepare the apples.
Wash your apples well and cut them into quarters. Remove both the stem and the blossom end as well as any bad spots.
Psst! If you’ve never done this, look for the flower inside your apple and show the kids. They will love it!
If you have a separator, your apples are ready to be cooked down. If you do not have a separator, you will need to both peel and remove the core before cooking.
(2) Cutting the apples.
As you are cutting your apples, place the ready-to-cook ones into a large bowl of water with a small amount of salt in it to prevent browning.
(3) Cooking the apples.
Once your apples are cut, dump out the salt water and give them a rinse with fresh water. Transfer the cut apples into a large sauce pan and add a few inches of water to the bottom.
Turn the burner on medium heat and cook for 30 minutes or until the apples are beginning to mush. You will need to stir the apples on occasion to prevent them from sticking.
Run your cooked and tender apples through your separator. If you do not have a separator, use your food processor to turn the apples into sauce. Yum!
While it may be tempting to try eating all that applesauce fresh (not that I’ve ever attempted that or anything!), canning has huge benefits for you, your family and the earth. Not convinced? Check this out!
Filling the jars
To can 7-8 pints you will need:
- Hot water bath canner (find my canning supplies listed here)
- 7-8 clean pint jars plus rings and lids (lids MUST be new)
- Jar lifter
- Small saucepan with boiling water
- 12 cups applesauce (recipe above)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from concentrate is fine)
- 3/4 cup raw cane sugar (more or less according to your taste
Apples are low acid and need the lemon juice to ensure proper canning and food safety. Because of the lemon juice, the applesauce becomes a little more tart and thus the sugar.
You can do without the sugar completely if you like, but keep in mind that the kids may not like it (my toddler wasn’t a huge fan). If you don’t want to add sugar, try a sweeter apple like a Braeburn.
Add the lemon juice to your apple sauce first and mix well. Then stir in the sugar, tasting as you add and adjust according to your taste.
Place your jar lids into the small saucepan of water and heat the water to boiling, then turn off heat. This will soften the seals and help ensure a good tight seal after canning.
Use the funnel to guide around 1 1/2 cups of applesauce into each jar.
You want to leave a good inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Much less than an inch could result in them “boiling over” right through the lids and preventing a good seal.
The funnel should keep the rims of your jars clean, but double check to make sure there is no food on the rim, and wash it off if you find any.
Use tongs to remove a lid from the hot water and place it on the jar. Tightly screw the ring on over the lid and set aside.
Once all jars are filled, it is…
Finally, time to can!
(Canning is super easy and most foods are able to be safely canned. But not pumpkin, try this instead!)
If you don’t have a hot water bath canner, a large saucepot will work IF you have a rack to place on the bottom to keep the jars from directly touching the bottom of your pan.
If you plan on canning much though, I highly recommend buying a canner. It’s one of those things where spending money will actually save you money in the long term.
I only filled 7 jars, even though there was enough room for 8. My canner does 7 at a time so 7 it is. 🙂 Place the jars in the bottom of your canner and cover with 1 inch of water.
The temperature of the water needs to resemble the temperature of your filled applesauce jars. This way the jars heat evenly with the water and the risk of breaking is minimized.
Bring the canner to a good strong boil and set the timer for 15 minutes.
After the time goes off, turn the heat off and carefully remove jars from the water. If your room is extra cool or there is cool air blowing directly on the canner, you will need to divert that air and just remove the lid for a few minutes before lifting jars out of the water.
Be sure to fill out these easy-peasy canning inventory sheets as a way to track how much you canned for next year’s canning planning. 🙂
That was Easy!
That’s right! Canning the jars was the easiest part of the entire process. If you have never canned foods before and aren’t sure where to start, my book Food Preservation Made Easy was written for you.
There’s a lot of prep-work that goes into any type of food preservation, but oh the rewards are totally worth it! Often far cheaper than the grocery stores and a whole lot better tasting, preserving your own foods has more rewards than I can name.
Let your jars cool for 12+ hours before removing the rings, and marking the contents for your shelves. And enjoy! Pop open a jar of applesauce in January and let the warm inviting smell of fall rush over you.
Other great ways to use apples:
- Home Canned Apple Pie Filling (it’s the best!)
- Apple Cheddar Muffins (just add the apples in!)
- Gluten free Apple Crisp
- A Fruit Turkey for your Thanksgiving table!
- Baked Oatmeal with apples
- Plus 17 other great apple recipes to try! (#14 is amazing!)
How do you preserve apples for the winter?
This post was written by Kendra at aproverbs31wife.com