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How to Can Applesauce
Pies, tarts and eating fresh are all great ways to enjoy your apple harvest, but applesauce is the top dog when it comes to preserving it! After you've filled up on your fair share of fresh apples, it's time to turn the rest into a delicious treat. You'll not only make complete use of every viable apple, you'll also fill your pantry with enough applesauce to last you all throughout the chilly days of winter. With so much reward to be had, there's no reason why you should watch another apple fall to the ground and rot away. In this article we'll dive right into the basics of how to can applesauce in the comforts of your own kitchen. You won't want to miss out on this one!
Materials Needed -
Preserving applesauce by canning it will require a bit more equipment than say if you froze it, but the extra supplies are definitely worth the reward! Choosing canning over freezing will not only free up space in your freezer, it will create a shelf-stable product that will last over a year in storage. Here's a look at the materials needed for canned applesauce:
- A Variety of Apples
- Cinnamon & Brown Sugar (Optional)
- One Lemon
- Dutch Oven/Baking Pan with Lid
- Canning Jars, Lids, and Can Rings
- Large Stockpot
- Jar Grabber
- Lid Magnet
Choosing the Right Apples for Applesauce -
When it comes down to it, there's really no apple that can't be turned into applesauce. That said, you'll want to choose at least three different varieties to create a well structured and flavorful applesauce. Below you'll find a list of the top five apple varieties prized for making applesauce. Use a variety of these tried and true performers, or branch our and try a new combination!
- Gala - A popular apple for eating fresh, these apples are equally as good in applesauce.
- Fuji - Uniquely sweet, these apples lend a hand in creating a complex flavor throughout your applesauce.
- Golden Delicious - This variety develops a rich apple flavor when cooked.
- Red Delicious - Bringing a satisfying texture and mild flavor to the table, Red Delicious apples are a great addition to applesauce.
- Jazz - The candy-like flavor of these apples is superb in everything!
Canned Applesauce Recipes -
Now that you've chosen the apples for your sauce, it's time to move right along to a recipe that will combine them all together! For this particular hub, I'll be demonstrating the small batch recipe, but for those of you out there that need more than a few small jars, I've also included a proper large batch recipe.
Large Batch Recipe -
- 72 Medium Size Apples (~ One Bushel)
- 8 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 8 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 6 Quart Size Mason Jars (24 Cups)
Small Batch Applesauce Recipe -
- 18 Medium Size Apples
- 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar (Optional)
- 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon (Optional)
- 3 Pint Size Mason Jars (6 Cups)
Preparing and Baking Your Apples -
This stage of the applesauce making process will be the most tedious and time consuming, but if there's no pain, then there's no gain, right?
- Fill a large bowl or stockpot with cold water and add the juice of your lemon (1/2 lemon for small batches, or the whole lemon for large batches). This lemony water bath will keep your apples from browning as you peel, core and slice.
- Peel, core and slice your apples. This stage can be completed with a vegetable peeler and paring knife, but will go much quicker if you have an apple corer/peeler on hand!
- Once you've prepped all of your apple slices, go ahead and preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Reserve a half cup of your lemon water and drain off the rest.
- Add your drained apple slices and half cup of water to a dutch oven or similar lidded baking pan. The half cup of lemon water will keep your apples nice and moist as they cook in the oven.
- Place the lid on your pan and bake the apples. For a chunky textured applesauce, bake your apples for 35-45 minutes. If you like your applesauce smooth and creamy, leave them in the oven for 1 hour.
Preparing Your Water Bath & Canning Supplies -
While your apple slices are cooking away in the oven, you can begin setting up all the supplies needed for canning.
- Place a canning rack, or similar object at the bottom of your stockpot. This "barrier" will keep your jars from coming into direct contact with the bottom of the pan. If a canning rack is not used, jars in direct contact with the bottom of the stockpot run a higher risk of breaking while boiling.
- Fill your large stockpot with enough water to completely submerge your clean canning jars (lids & rings removed) under at least one inch of water. Bring the jars to a rolling boil. This step will sanitize the inside of the jars.
- In a small saucepan, submerge the canning lids (shiny side down) in about an inch of water. Place the pan on a medium-low heat burner. The trick to sanitizing your canning lids is to keep them in water that is near boiling. Do not boil your lids as this could damage the seal even before you start canning.
Making and Canning Applesauce -
Now that all the prep work is out of the way, we can finally move onto the exciting part!
- Remove the baked apples from the oven and strain off all of the excess water. (You can reserve this water and add it back in later if you prefer a thinner applesauce.)
- Add the apples to a blender or food processor and pulse until a desired consistency has been reached. If you choose to do so, now would be the time to add your sugar and spices!
- Remove the canning jars from the boiling water and and pour off any excess water. Fill the jars with hot applesauce, making sure to leave 1/2 inch headroom. Tap the jars to remove any air pockets and top off with applesauce if needed.
- Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean moist cloth. Using the lid magnet, grab the lids and place them onto each jar. Screw on the jar rings until they are "finger tight".
- With you jar grabber, gently place each jar upright into the boiling water bath. Make sure that the tops of the jars are still covered with at least one inch of boiling water. Process the jars by following the table below. Note that the higher elevation your at, the longer you'll boil your jars.
Applesauce Processing Times -
Sea Level - 1,000ft
1,001ft - 3,000ft
3,001ft - 6,000ft
Once your applesauce jars have been in the water bath for the recommended time, remove the stockpot from the heat and allow the jars to sit in the hot water for an additional five minutes. (This helps the jars seal better.) Once five minutes have passed, remove the jars with your grabbers and allow them to cool on a cookie rack. Within a few minutes, the lids should make their classic "ping" sound, indicating that a successful seal has occurred. Let the jars cool undisturbed until they have reached room temperature. Check to make sure that all the jars have sealed. If any of the applesauce jars did not seal properly, place them in the refrigerator and consume within the next couple weeks.
Sealed jars of applesauce should be stored in a cool and dark pantry until they are ready for use. In this fashion, your jars of homemade applesauce will keep fresh for more than a year! When you do choose to break into these beauties, you'll want to consume them within two weeks and keep them in the refrigerator during that time. I'd like to thank you for reading this guide on how to can applesauce. Please feel free to share any comments, tips or success stories!