Fall - it’s not just for pumpkins. It’s also the time of year when apples shine.
And after you’ve made apple pie (or cake!), apple cider donuts, and thrown apple in everything from tuna salad to a grilled brie sandwich…you might be looking for something else to do with all them apples. Why not sauce them? It’s a lot easier than you probably think. It doesn’t take a lot of prep or processing time and has a shelf life of three years. I KNOW. Sure when you hear canning, you might think of pioneer times, but, let’s face it, those ladies knew what they were doing. The good-for-three-years part, remember?
One of the most important ingredients of anything I make is the music I have playing in the background. When it comes to making applesauce, I prefer the folk-stylings of the Avett Brothers, but I’m here to guide your sauce skills, not sway your musical tastes… that’s just a bonus.
1. The first step is to sterilize the jars. Set the oven to 220 degrees, remove the lids and rings from 12 clean pint jars. Put the jars in a roasting pan and place them in the oven. Keep them there until you’re ready to fill them, but you can turn off the heat after about 20 minutes.
Nine to ten pounds of apples makes 10-12 pints of sauce. (So adjust, depending on how much sauce you want to have around. Fun fact, you can use applesauce as a substitute for a variety of things in baking recipes…think of all the possibilities!)
We grow, pick, and preserve most of our food, and I enjoy knowing exactly what my family is eating. For applesauce, we use mainly Mutsu apples. In general, sweeter ones – like Mutsu, Fuji, or Gala – make a better sauce.
2. With the jars in the oven, place the lids in a small pot of water on low heat to soften the wax lining of the lid. Next fill a medium size canning pot with water, leaving about three inches of space at the top, cover, and bring to a boil.
3. Quarter each apple and throw them into the pot to cook down over medium heat. Cover. This process will take about 35-45 minutes. Add ½ cup of water and 3-4 cinnamon sticks while cooking down the apples. Stir frequently, and add up to one tablespoon of ground cinnamon as needed for taste. Depending on the apple, a little sugar may be needed as well.
4. The place will smell like a huge apple pie when the apples are properly cooked down (about 45 minutes). They’ll be mushy, but you can put them through a food mill (we have one that hooks up to our mixer, which is quick and easy on the wrist) to remove the skins and seeds, leaving you with just the sauce.
5. You’re almost finished! All that’s left is ladling them into pint jars, wiping the rims, and placing the lids and bands on. You then process the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Once you take them out of the bath, set them on a towel to cool. It’s during this portion of the show that the lids will “pop,” indicating they’re sealed. You’ll love this sound. It’s SO satisfying.
And that’s all there is to it! Fresh applesauce for years to come!