Homemade applesauce is much tastier than storebought. It is also more economical. Best of all, making your own applesauce is easy! The following applesauce canning recipe will show you how to do it…
Select Your Apples
The sauce apples are those that are sweet with a slightly soft consistency. Many apples fall into this category, but some that are highly recommended for applesauce include: Gala, Lodi, McIntosh, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonagold, Melrose, Stayman Winesap, Pink Lady, Fuji, Macoun. You can mix varieties or choose just one. It’s purely a matter of personal taste.
As a general rule of thumb, 3-1/2 pounds of apples will yield about one quart of applesauce.
Prepare Your Canning Equipment
If you’ve never canned anything before, there’s some basic equipment you’ll need, requiring a small initial investment. The good news is that everything except the lids can be reused.
Here’s what you’ll need for water bath canning your applesauce:
- Quart-sized glass canning jars
- Canning rings (screw bands)
- Canning lids
- canning jar rack
- canning pot (any large pot with a lid will do as long the top of the pot is at least 4 inches higher than the tops of the jars)
- magnetic lifting wand (removes sterilized lids from hot water)
- wide-mouthed funnel
- large, thick-bottomed pot for cooking the applesauce
- large saucepan (for sterilizing lids and rings)
- food mill or potato masher (depends on how chunky you like your applesauce)
To prepare your canning equipment, you’ll first need to sanitize your jars and lids. If you have a dishwasher, simply place your jars in there on the hottest cycle and leave the jars in the dishwasher on the heated dry cycle until you are ready to use them. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash the jars in hot, soapy water and rinse well, then boil them in the canning pot for 10 minutes and leave them in the water until they are ready to be used. Bring a saucepan full of water to a simmer, place the lids and rings in the pan, simmer them for 5 minutes, then remove them and place them on a clean, dry kitchen towel.
Note: most of the above equipment can be purchased together in a home canning kit rather economically.
Prepare the Applesauce Recipe
To prepare the applesauce, you’ll need:
- Ground cinnamon, cloves, and/or nutmeg, to taste (optional)
Wash, peel, core, and cut the apples in thick slices or chunks.
Put about an inch of water on the bottom of the pot you will be using to cook the apples. Place the apples in the pot, put the lid on, and the heat until the water boils. Turn the heat to medium high and cook until all of the apple slices are soft.
As the apples soften, you can mash them with a potato masher right in the pot if you like a chunky applesauce. If you like a smoother applesauce, you can run the apples through a food mill after you’ve cooked them.
Add spices to taste and keep the applesauce hot until you are ready to put it in jars.
Fill the Canning Jars and Process Them
Fill the jars with applesauce, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe any spilled applesauce off the top of the jar, place the lid on top, and gently tighten the ring. Place the jars in the canning rack, and lower the rack into the canning pot full of boiling water. Boil the jars for 20 minutes (if you are more than 1000 feet about sea level, you will need to adjust your boiling time accordingly).
After 20 minutes, remove the jars from the water and let them cool overnight in a draft-free area without touching or bumping into each other. When the jars have cooled, check that they are properly sealed by press the center of the lid gently with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you refrigerate the jar immediately, the applesauce can still be eaten.