I make applesauce every autumn for a couple of reasons. One is because I have two apples trees, and I am driven to find a use for them. Another reason is my picky son loves my homemade apple sauce. I have tried to make enough to last him till the next apple season-I once made 55 quarts-but it’s never enough. Making applesauce is one of the most time consuming canning jobs I do, but it is so worth it.
In case you are interested, here’s how I do it.
Set aside an afternoon. It takes about 4 to 5 hours from start to finish.
Cleanliness is very important throughout the entire process. Make sure your work surface and all your tools are sterilized.
To make about 7 quarts you will need a large pot. It should hold 8-10 quarts, quart canning jars and lids, a funnel, a sharp knife, a ladle and hot water bather, and assorted spoons and potholders.
Pick and wash the apples. Cut them into small pieces, cutting out any bruises and worms (I’m an organic gardener-that means the occasional worm.) Add enough water to the pan to prevent the apples sticking to the bottom and burning. An inch or two should suffice. Fill up the pan and place on stove burner about on medium. They will take about an hour to cook till tender. Fill the hot water bather about 3/4 full. This is a large dark blue pan that you will put the filled jars in to process. It forces the air out of the jars, and seals them. I sterilize my jars, rings and lids in the oven to save room on the range. I put about an inch of water in a casserole pan and invert the canning jars in it. Another pan holds the lids and rings. Place these in the oven at 300 degrees now.
Stir the apples frequently, making sure the apples do not stick. When they are soft, out then through a food mill (If you like smooth applesauce, like my son. Otherwise skip this step.) Fill up the jars, wiping the rim, and then putting on the lids. Put each jar in the bather as soon as they are filled. Once you are done, then bring to a full roiling boil for 30 minutes. It’s quite important to do this to ensure that the applesauce is safe to eat.
When the 30 minutes are up, make sure that your doors and windows are closed to prevent a breeze hitting the hot jars, and pull them out. Place on a towel and let cool. If you are successful, then soon you will hear a ping sound as the jars seal. I love that sound. If any do not seal, then refrigerate and eat soon.
Now, stand back and admire the results of all of your hard work!
Ready to go in the pantry.