I’m always sad to see Summer go, but the Autumn sort of redeems itself with the ripening of apples. I have been making homemade applesauce for many years and just bringing freshly picked apples into the house makes it smell like heaven!
I know my apples have spots, “give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees.” ~ Joni Mitchell
But they are delicious!
I have always gone to a local apple orchard to get apples and usually, just when I find a variety I like especially well, the next year it’s not available when I go to the orchard. So I’ve given up on using a specific apple and focus mainly on whether or not it is a good cooking apple with a tiny bit of tartness to it.
I usually end up buying a bushel from the orchard but I can almost always count on a neighbor for another half bushel or so. That makes quite a bit of applesauce.
Most of the time there ends up being a mixture of 2 or 3 kinds of apples in my sauce, or pie filling or what ever I might be making to preserve them.
This year was a mixture of Jonathan, Lurared, and an unknown red apple from a neighbor. Other years I have used Jonagold, Empire, McIntosh, Snow Apples, Cortland, and Yellow Delicious. So you really don’t have to get your heart set on one particular variety. Just make sure it’s a good cooking apple. The orchard I go to has a list of how to use each variety to bring out its best qualities.
This year I planted a couple of apple trees of my own so that, in a few years, I will no longer have to pay for apples. But since I went for the bare root trees, I’ll still be making the trip to buy them for a while.
This is my Red Rome Dwarf. I also planted a Granny Smith Dwarf.
The applesauce recipe I use is very simple. No fancy ingredients are needed. When I first started making this, I didn’t have much in canning supplies so I just froze it. But now, I my freezers (I have a chest freezer and 2 refrigerator freezers) are usually packed by the end of Summer so I started canning this just because of the lack of freezer space.
Making Homemade Applesauce
Before starting on the sauce, it’s best to get the canning supplies ready. Wash the jars by putting them in the dishwasher, or wash by hand and put them in an oven at 350F for at least 15 minutes to sterilize them.
Get the hot water bath heating on the stove, and have a pan ready with hot water for the lids and rings.
Once the apples have been washed, I peel them with my apple peeler/corer. This piece of equipment only cost about $15.00 a few years ago and was well worth the investment. It has saved countless hours of hand peeling with a paring knife.
It also slices the apples for you, if you want it to, for faster cooking times.
This year I am saving the apple cores and the peelings from the apples I know are organic to make Apple Scrap Jelly. This will be a first for me so I am excited to try this. It always seems like such a waste to throw part of the apple away. That is, unless you own a food mill. I do not. But that’s a story for another day.
I have a stock pot that holds about 14 medium to large sized apples so that’s the number of apples I use for the recipe. And each batch, using this number of apples, makes about 4 pints of apples sauce.
Once the pan is full, I add about 1/2 cup water or you can also use apple cider if you have it, and cook till the apples have cooked down and are soft, stirring periodically.
Once the apples are done I use a potato masher to make the chunky consistency we like. When my kids were younger, we would put it in the blender or food processor to make smooth applesauce. Now that everyone has grown up, we have grown up applesauce.
Then add cinnamon and sugar and continue mixing till combined.
You don’t have to add sugar if you prefer not to. But I add just 1/2 cup. You can use white or brown sugar. Since I have been moving toward more organic ingredients, I use organic sugar. I realize sugar is still sugar, and while 1/2 cup isn’t a lot for the amount of apples I’m cooking, it just makes me feel better about using it I guess.
As far as the cinnamon goes, I use somewhere between 1-2 teaspoons but that is also a personal preference sort of thing.
Canning Homemade Applesauce
Hopefully, by the time you have your first batch ready, the canner will have boiling water waiting for you to give your jarred sauce a hot water bath.
Using a funnel, ladle the hot applesauce into the jars leaving at least 1/2 an inch head space (so your jars don’t explode in the canner). Run a knife around the inside of the jar to force bubbles out and wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth to remove any food residue. Top with a lid that has been immersed in hot water and a ring. But don’t tighten the ring too tight.
Place jars in the canner and when the water returns to a boil, process for 15 minutes if you’re using pint jars and 20 minutes for quart jars.
When the processing time is up, remove and place the jars on a rack to cool.
Then I just keep a repeating cycle going for multiple batches until all the sauce is made.
That’s all there is to it! This is so much better than what you buy in the store I promise you! You won’t ever regret starting a relationship with homemade applesauce. It will always be there for you and never let you down. Delicious every time.
- 14 (give or take) medium/large apples washed, peeled, and cored.
- 1/2 water or apple cider
- 1/2 cup sugar ~ white, brown, organic *optional*
- 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
Place your apples in a cooking pot and add the cider or water. Cook over medium heat till apples are soft and cooked through.
Mash with a hand held potato masher.
Add cinnamon and sugar if using.
If you like smooth applesauce this is when you would put it in a blender or food processor. If, like me, you want it chunky just use the potato masher.
Using a funnel, ladle the hot applesauce into the jars leaving at least 1/2 an inch head space (so your jars don’t explode in the canner). Run a knife around the inside of the jar to force bubbles out, wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth to remove any food residue, and top with a lid that has been immersed in hot water and a ring. But don’t tighten the ring too tight.
Place in the canner and when the water returns to a boil process for 15 minutes if your using pint jars and 20 minutes for quart jars.
Remove and place the jars on a rack to cool.
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