Homemade applesauce is something I’ve wanted to try my hand at for a while.
When our local grocery store had apples on sale for 69-cents a pound a few weeks ago, I decided it was time!
The process took a little extra effort but, boy, were the results delicious!
Here is the recipe I used and a little “tutorial” in pictures. The recipe comes from Family Feasts for $75 a Week, by Mary Ostyn.
1) Start with about 10 pounds of apples (more or less 30 apples). I think I had over 40 apples, so the amount is pretty much an approximate. If you live up North where apples are native, consider yourself blessed! It’s rare here in Texas to find good quality apples that are sweet, crispy and affordable.
2) The next step is to peel, core, and slice the apples. This is by far the most time-consuming step of all. It helps tremendously if you have an apple-corer-peeler gadget. My sister-in-law gave me this cute red one for Christmas. It has saved me literally hours of peeling and cutting time!
3) Once you’ve made a dent in your apple pile, start a big pot of water on the stove. Add the following to the water:
- 2 C sugar or raw honey
- 2 TBSP cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
I omitted the sugar, since I try to stay away from sweetened applesauce. I added about 1/4 C of raw honey to the entire pot and the apples turned out sweet enough. If you’re using very tart apples, you might want to add a sweetener, though.
4) Once the water begins to boil, start adding your peeled and sliced apples. Add more apples as you continue to peel and slice them.
- Now is also a good time to start your canner, if you plan to can the applesauce. Fill your canning pot with about 2 quarts of water and place the pot over medium heat. You can add a few teaspoons of white vinegar, if you want, to keep the canning jars from spotting while they process. You might want to run your jars through a cycle in the dishwasher, or let them soak in very hot water, in order to sanitize them.
5) Stir your apples occasionally as you continue to add apple slices to the pot. As they simmer, they will soften and break down, making room for more apples. The above picture is what my apples looked like after they had simmered at least an hour. The previous picture was taken after 30 minutes of simmering. I used a potaoe masher to help the apples break down more quickly while they cooked.
6) Once you have peeled, cored and sliced all your apples, let them simmer a while to soften. They need at least an hour to completely cook down. I had a lot of apples, so I let mine cook on low for about 90 minutes all together.
7) I wanted my sauce very smooth, so I ran the apples through a food processor once they had completely cooked. This is what my applesauce looked like afterwards. It smelled heavenly!
8) Get out your canning jars now and get ready to fill them up with applesauce! You’ll need some kind of funnel for this to avoid making a mess and getting burned (that applesauce is hot!). I use a canning funnel for this. Spoon your applesauce into hot canning jars, leaving 1-inch of empty space at the top. Cover jars tightly with seals and lids. (You can reuse lids, but always buy new seals when you can to be sure they will always seal properly.)
9) Place your jars of applesauce into boiling water in the canning pot. There should be at least 5 or 6 inches of water in the pot to sufficiently cover your jars– you don’t want them to break during the canning process! I used a pressure cooker to can my applesauce. My pint jars took 25 minutes to process, quart jars will take 35 minutes. Consult your instruction manual for instructions for your particular canner or pressure cooker.
- If you’re using a pressure cooker, never remove the lid until all the pressure has completely gone down. Your jars will break if you take the lid off too soon.
- The jars are HOT once they have finished processing. I usually let mine sit and cool at least an hour before I take off the lid or remove the jars from the pot.
- Set the jars on a thick towel on your counter top so they can dry and completely cool.
- If jars have sealed properly, the seals should be popped down.
- Always label and date your jars before you put them in the pantry!
I definitely consider myself an amateur when it comes to canning and preserving, but, thanks to this simple recipe, my homemade applesauce turned out wonderful! It tastes like biting into a crisp, fresh apple– sprinkled with cinnamon! Hmmm.
My kids have enjoyed it for breakfasts and snacks the past few weeks. In fact, I think we’re down to the last few jars.
Hope apples go on sale again soon!