Fall is the season of preserving and it’s high time I start sharing what’s been simmering in my canning pot. We can’t seem to have enough jars of applesauce in our cupboard, so I’ve been cooking up batches for the past couple weeks. It’s a great snack, breakfast, and dinner side dish. Applesauce is also fairly simple and easy to can.
You can use almost any type of apples to make sauce. I generally don’t use fancy varieties because I think the delicacy of flavor can get lost in the sauce. So I generally use ones for baking (Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, your neighbor’s random tree), and leave the fancy varieties for eating fresh. Here is what I used for a batch of seven pints:
- 10-12 lbs. apples, cored and roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 3 T. cinnamon
The process is really straight-forward. Throw the apples in a huge stock pot with a little water – just enough to prevent the bottom from burning. Simmer everything down until the apples loose their shape. The trick toward the end is to stir often, since the thicker it becomes the more likely it will burn on the bottom.
Use a masher or immersion blender to help the apples fall apart and reach a good chunky consistency. I use this hand blender thing that I scored from an estate sale at some point. I love using these old kitchen tools. They have a memory all their own.
When it’s reached a good consistency (anywhere from lump to smooth depending on your preference), stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. You might add the brown sugar in increments of 1/2 cup, tasting until you get the sweetness you like. If you like nutmeg, add a bit. If you want to use honey instead of sugar, go for it.
The apples do not need to be skinned beforehand. If you are okay with strips of skin in the applesauce, you should be just fine. If that clash of textures weirds you out, just use an immersion blender when the sauce is finished to really make it fine. You can also use the blender to puree in batches, but careful to avoid burn. The sauce would need to be reheated before it goes in the cans.
So everything tastes great and you like the consistency. Fill about seven sterilized pint jars leaving about 1/2 inch of head space, then adjust two piece caps. Process in the hot-water bath canner for about 15-20 minutes. You should hear them “pop” their lids within 24 hours of coming out of the bath. Enjoy!