Our apple tree produced abundantly and so I made applesauce. I make a variety of flavors, including red hot applesauce (my absolute FAVORITE). Here’s how to can applesauce step by step:
1. Dump your apples into a big tub of water or a filled sink to rinse off the dirt. If they are commercial apples they probably have chemicals that need to be washed off as well. They don’t need to be perfect apples. You can see plenty of imperfections in mine, but they make perfect applesauce even if they aren’t perfectly beautiful apples.
2. If you can buy or borrow one, this apple sauce mill makes the job absolutely easy. With the mill you can just quarter the apples and once they’re cooked the mill automatically separates out the peel, seeds, and stem. If you don’t have a mill you have to peel and core the apples before you cook them.
I am able to borrow my mom’s mill so I just quarter the apples and throw them in a big pot of hot water over the stove.
3. Once the apples are prepared (either quartered or cored and peeled) cook them in a big pot with water to cover. Crank the heat up to high. The apples will be absolutely falling apart when they’re done.
4. Next you drain off the water. I pour my apples and water into a big colander in the sink. Then you mash them or run them through your mill. (If you can get a kid to do the job, that’s even better. My kids often argue over who gets to crank the mill. It’s so fascinating.) You put the apples in the top and then push them down using the plunger. Meanwhile, crank the wheel and watch as the magic happens. All the peels and seeds come out in the garbage bowl and tasty applesauce comes out in the other bowl.
5. Now you add a bit of sugar and cinnamon to taste. Some people want theirs without added sugar and that’s okay too. I put one cup of sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon into one big bowl full of applesauce, about 6 quarts. Start small, taste your sauce, and keep adding until it’s how you like it. I also make my favorite, red hot applesauce, by adding a big handful of red hots into a bowl of hot applesauce and stirring until they are dissolved.
6. Next ladle your sauce into canning jars. Your jars need to be hot and clean. I stick mine in the dishwasher and make sure the “heated dry” cycle is on. Use a canning funnel if you want to make your job easy as can be. You can see the green canning funnel in the picture below. See how it fits perfectly into the jar? If you don’t have one you can just spoon the applesauce into the canning jars. Leave about 1/2 inch or so between the top of the sauce and the rim of your jar. The applesauce needs room to expand as it’s heated in your canner.
You have to add lids and rings next. Pop your lids into a small pan of boiling water to sterilize them and soften the seal. Screw the lids on tightly.
The last step is to process the jars in a hot water bath. You need a huge pot made just for canning. Once the jars are in the pot, fill the water so it’s about an inch above your jars. Turn your stove on high heat. Once the water is boiling hard set your timer for 20 minutes.
When the timer goes off your sauce is done. Turn off the heat and let it cool or if you’re doing more jars, remove the finished jars with a jar gripper (purchase where canning supplies are sold) and start over. You can see my three kinds below. The first one is unsweetened applesauce, which I like to use in baking especially. The seconds one is red hot applesauce, which is always gone first at our place. And the final kind is cinnamon applesauce. Mmm, mmm.
I get the whole family involved when we can fruit from our trees. The kids are a great help and I love a little company in the kitchen, especially from my favorite people in the whole world.
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