With an abundance of apples to harvest this year consider making some homemade applesauce! Super easy to make, the taste is delicious, simply amazingly superior to the commercially available sauces.
Making applesauce at home requires no special equipment, just apples, cinnamon, and sugar is optional. Preparing the tangy sauce at home is a fun, frugal, practical and a realistic activity for the whole family and all levels of cooking ability. Use #2, or slightly blemished apples to save money and simply cut-away the bad spots.
For my family, applesauce making has been a fall tradition transcending more than thirty years, ideal for our cooler Fall days. By utilizing our abundant North Fork apple crop, you can use up the less than perfect apples inexpensively. If you use at least three different varieties of sweet apples such as Gala, Red Delicious, Golden delicious, Fuji, Honeycrips, or Romes you will eliminate the need for sugar. Picking apples yourself makes the process really inexpensive and gives you the added sense of satisfaction of using up what otherwise might go to waste.
For a detailed, illustrated step-by-step PDF for making homemade applesauce, Click Here.
Basic Steps to Homemade Applesauce:
1. The first step is to collect the equipment you will need if you are making enough to freeze or can. Small batches can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to two weeks.
- Large Stockpot
- Pint or quart canning jars
- Jar lids or Tattler reuseable jar lids
- Jar Funnel, optional
- Foley Food Mill, Norpro or other Saucemaster, Food Processor or potato masher, optional
- Water Bath Canner (if freezing the sauce the Canner won’t be needed)
2. To make 7 quarts applesauce to freeze or can you will need about twenty pounds or more of a variety of different apples for the best tasting sauce. If you only have one tart variety, the applesauce will still be yummy. If your apples are bland, you can enhance the flavor substantially by using lemon juice to taste.
3. Wash the jars in hot soapy water and then rinse in hot water, or better yet, let the dishwasher do the job and keep the jars warm.
4. Then wash, peel if desired, and chop the apples up. If you have a Saucemaster or Foley food mill, you can leave the skins and seeds in the apples, and the food mill will remove the waste for you. I also like to leave the skins on for the added pectin in the sauce and the pinkish color to the sauce imparted by red skins.
5. Fill your stockpot to the top with apples, and add about an inch of water and once the pot is boiling adjust the heat to medium high to steam the apples for about 30 minutes or until the apples are soft throughout the pot. Stir occasionally.
6. Run the apples through the food mill or mash them up by hand with a potato masher. Add cinnamon to taste. I use about 1 Tbsp of cinnamon per 3-4 quarts of sauce. (I also mix the cinnamon with a little sugar so it mixes into the sauce smoothly.)
Fill the jars to 1/2” for pints to within 1” for quarts or 1 1/2 inch for jars of sauce to be frozen (to allow plenty of room for expansion). Plastic containers are also a great inexpensive way to preserve the sauce if you don’t have a Water Bath Canner.
7. Process the Jars according to the following chart based on your elevation.
8. Remove the processed jars with a jar lifter and place them on a dish towel covered wooden cutting board or other heat-safe surface. Check the jars for sound seals after 24 hours and store the jars in a cool, dark place.