Canning Applesauce

Freshly canned applesauce

I love homemade applesauce so much better than anything I can buy at the store. It really is easy to make.

There is some disagreement about whether or not you have to peel your apples before making applesauce. It is a personal choice. You can cut up your apples without peeling them, if you are running them through a food mill. The food mill will remove the skins. If you use red-skinned apples, the skins will give your sauce a rosy tint.

I actually peeled my apples, mostly because I knew I was not using a food mill, but was using an immersion blender to make my sauce smooth. Either method is fine.

Sweetening is also a personal choice. You can leave your applesauce unsweetened, if you like. I normally use sweet apples for my sauce, so I don’t need a lot of sugar. Plus, I’ll let you in on a little secret. You need some water to help cook down the apples and keep them from sticking to the pot. Instead of water, I use apple juice or cider. It adds natural sweetness to the applesauce and a more intense apple flavor.

You can also add a couple of cinnamon sticks to the batch- don’t forget to remove them before processing.

Home Canned Applesauce

12 lbs. apples, I used Melrose and Mutsu


2-3 cinnamon sticks, optional

4 T.  lemon juice

sugar to taste

Peel and core apples. Put in water with some ascorbic acid, citric acid or lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Place apples in a pot with enough water* to prevent sticking. Add the cinnamon sticks, if using, and lemon juice. Cook over medium high heat until soft. Time will vary depending on the type of apples you are using, and how large the apples are.  Turn off the heat and remove cinnamon sticks. I wanted smooth applesauce, so I used an immersion blender. Return apple mixture to a boil. Sweeten with sugar, if you like, or leave unsweetened. Have water bath full of boiling water and have hot, clean canning jars and lids and rings ready. Ladle hot applesauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe rims and apply lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes for pints or quarts. Turn off heat and let jars stand in water bath 5 minutes before removing. Set in a draft free area to cool down. Yield: 4 quarts or 8 pints.

*rather than add water, to prevent the apples from sticking, you can use cider or apple juice instead.

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