Canning Applesauce.

So applesauce is one of those things that I enjoy eating, but never in huge amounts.  Over the past years I’ve learned to buy those little individual serving packs, because if I buy a jar and open it, it’ll go bad before I ever get close to finishing it.  I originally intended to can my homemade applesauce in 4 ounce jelly jars, but due to laziness (and the fact that I had used all of my existing jelly jars for salsa lol), I never made it to the store and decided to just can in half pints.  At least this way I still only have to eat two servings in one week after I open the jar, or I can share with Bob and finish in one sitting.  I was surprised at how tasty the homemade applesauce was, and I’ve been eating more of it now than I have in a long time!  I got the recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Ingredients:

  • 12 pounds apples; peeled, cored, quartered, treated to prevent browning, and drained
  • Water
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions:

  • In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine apples with just enough water to prevent sticking.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and boil gently (stirring occasionally) for 5 to 20 minutes, until apples are tender.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • Working in batches, transfer apples to a food mill or food processor, and puree until smooth.
  • Return apple puree to saucepan.
  • Add sugar (if using) and lemon juice; bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  • Maintain a gentle boil over low heat while filling jars.
  • Ladle hot applesauce into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Process in water bath canner for 20 minutes.

Notes:

  • There are a lot of recommendations about which types of apples can be used.  It’s all fairly logical – if you use a sweeter apple, you need less sugar, etc.  I decided to use Jonathon apples which are a more tart variety (which I picked at our local Weaver’s Orchards).  I used the recipe exactly as is (adding the 3 cups of sugar per batch) and it came out perfectly.
  • To treat the apples to prevent browning, add them to a solution of 4 cups water mixed with 1/4 cup lemon juice as you chop them (drain when ready to begin cooking).
  • I chopped the apples smaller than quarters (probably not necessary but it just seemed like it would cook off easier to me).
  • So the boiling part was a ton of fun.  As you can see from the picture, I decided I could pack my two pots full of apples and do it all in one go.  Not really the smartest thing to do (this is what happens when you do your canning on a Friday night after a long week of work lol).  My smaller pot worked out ok, but the big pot was just way too full and couldn’t even cook evenly, and ended up boiling over and making a huge mess.  *sigh* live and learn…..  I was a little confused about adding just enough water to prevent sticking, I felt like the apples should be covered, so I ended up adding more water and then draining it all off after cooking.  Not sure if that was right or not, but it worked for me!  The Jonathon apples cooked quickly, 5 minutes just about did it (at least when using the smaller batches).
  • I pureed my sauce in a food processor, and it was quick and painless.
  • Now…the bit about leaving the sauce boiling as you add to the jars?  Totally not into that.  I ended up with bits of sauce spattering and flying across the stove, one of which landed on my pinky finger…not a nice burn!  I also usually set up my canning station on the counter opposite the stove, so trying to shove everything in next to the boiling stove pan made it very awkward for me to work.  I gave up after a jar or two (and the burn) and went back to my usual setup, removing the applesauce from the heat.  I think as long as you are doing smaller batches (so the sauce will keep hot as you transfer to jars), you’ll be fine.
  • The hardest thing about this recipe really was the peeling/chopping…took me a few hours to get through the 24 pounds with my paring knife 🙂  The rest was a very simple process, messy as usual for canning, but nothing too traumatic.
  • Also, if you are not into the canning bit, you could just make this and put in the fridge (adjusting the batch size to your needs), and I would imagine you could freeze it too.
  • I am extremely pleased with the results and will definitely make more next year.
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