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Make it Yourself Monday: Applesauce

Applesauce is such a simple thing, but it's also one I would have never thought to make myself until recently because it is cheap and readily available.  Depending on the price and availability of apples where you are, it may be far cheaper to buy organic unsweetened applesauce.  Keep in mind it takes 1.5-2 pounds of apples to make a pint of applesauce, so to make a cannerload of 9 pints (all of a sudden that's all I can fit into my canner... I need to have words with my jars) you need 15-18lbs of apples.  If you have an apple tree or find a great deal on apples, this may be worth it.  And since we have three apple trees and no confidence in keeping fresh apples, I am canning a ton of apples and applesauce.
Home canned applesauce (and sliced apples in the background).

Of course, there may be a time when you have a small amount of apples you just need to use up, or you want to make a special treat for your kids.  So I'm including two recipes- a small batch non-canned recipe and a holy mama huge canning batch recipe:)

Homemade Applesauce

Small Batch (makes about a quart)
  • 2.5-3 pounds apples, cored and sliced (and peeled if you don't want to use a food mill)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • dash desired spice- cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger... (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional)
Large Batch (makes about nine pints)
  • 18 pounds apples, cored and sliced (and peeled if you don't plan to use a food mill)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp or so desired spice, to taste (I'm a fan of classic cinnamon)
  • 3/4 cup honey (optional- use none or less, depending on your tastes)
(BTW, if you're making the large batch, NOW would be the time to prepare your jars by boiling them in your canning kettle.  Don't forget to get the lids ready, too!)

TIP:  As you cut up the apples, drop them into a large container containing 2 T. of lemon juice and 2 T. of salt per gallon of water to prevent browning.  Drain well before moving on.

Placed cut up apples into a large saucepan and add water and lemon juice.  Turn heat on to medium high and put the lid on the pot.  Once the liquid has started to simmer reduce heat to medium and cook apples for 15-20 minutes, or until apples are soft.

At this point you can EITHER simply mash the apples with a potato masher (or put them in the food processor- either way you need to start with peeled apples) OR run the apples through a food mill.  I choose to leave the peels on and use the food mill.  IN THIS CASE keep in mind that dark red apples like red delicious will tint your applesauce a tiny bit pink.  In the end it's more peach than anything, and this doesn't bother me:)

Return the applesauce to the heat and add the spice and honey.  Stir until well mixed and honey is dissolved.

SMALL BATCH:  Spoon into jars (or whatever container makes you happy) and refrigerate. 

CANNING THE LARGE BATCH:  Remove the hot jars from the kettle using your jar lifter.  Using your canning funnel, fill each jar with hot applesauce, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Close with hot lids and return to your boiling water bath.  Process for 15 minutes (or check the appropriate time for your altitude here).  Remove from boiling water and allow jars to sit undisturbed for at least 24 hours before labeling and storing.


webbsway said...

Thank you So very much!

Heidi said...

Your applesauce looks good, thanks for sharing the recipe. I will be trying the small batch this next weekend.

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