When you think about one of your favorite meals as a child, does grilled cheese come to mind? What about homemade applesauce?
Applesauce is one of those snacks which goes great with practically anything children love. My children eat it with their grilled cheese, their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and as a quick snack.
But are you tired of purchasing applesauce from the store? You don’t have any idea what’s in it, and it isn’t cheap.
Let me then share with you how you can quickly make your very own homemade applesauce and preserve it for later use.
Here’s what you need to know:
- 3 pounds of apples per quart
1. Prepare the Apples
To start making applesauce, you must begin with the apples. You can use any variety of apple you like or have on hand to make homemade applesauce.
Whether you grow the apples yourself, or you find a sale on apples, they’ll do to make this delicious treat.
When you have your apples picked out, bring them in and wash them in cold water. Peel the skins from the apples, remove the cores and cut the apple into slices or quarters.
2. Cook Your Homemade Applesauce
The next step in the process is to cook the apples. Place the prepared apples in a large stockpot. Put only enough water in the pot to keep the apples from sticking to the bottom.
Depending upon how many apples you’re using at one time, this could range anywhere from a tablespoon of water to a ¼ cup or more.
Use your judgment to make sure the apples won’t stick, but you don’t want to drown them in liquid either. When the apples become soft, you’re ready for the next step.
However, be sure you stir the apples regularly to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot while cooking.
3. Chunky or Smooth?
This is a question for personal preference. My children are big on texture. Therefore, when I make applesauce for them, it must be smooth.
But I prefer chunkier applesauce. I’m going to share with you how to make both types. You can use whichever method you prefer.
For smooth applesauce, run the cooked apples through a food mill or placing them in a food processor.
If you use the food mill, place a large pot under the mill. Run the cooked apples through it until the apples have are completely mushy.
If you use a food processor, ladle the hot apples into the machine and gently pulse it until the apples become the right consistency.
However, if you’re like me and prefer chunkier homemade applesauce, divide the cooked apples. Roughly chop half of the apples. Run the other half of the apples through a food mill or food processor until they’re smooth.
Whichever method you choose, when the apples are the consistency you prefer, place them back in the stockpot.
4. Add Your Extras
After the apples have been processed and are back in the pot, it’s time to add the extras. If you prefer natural applesauce, you can skip this step.
If you prefer a sweeter applesauce, this is the point you’ll add the sugar. It’s up to you how much sugar you add.
If you like a spicier applesauce, you can add cinnamon, nutmeg, or any other spice to your taste. If you want to make a different variety of homemade applesauce, this will be the point where you’ll add any extra flavorings you may desire.
Which is the wonderful thing about making your own applesauce, you can add or exclude any ingredient you desire. Have fun and be creative.
When your ingredients have been added, bring the applesauce to a boil. Be sure to stir the applesauce to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
It’s important to keep the applesauce boiling up until you begin filling the jars.
5. Prepare Your Jars
When canning your applesauce, it’s important you prepare your jars adequately to ensure food safety.
Be sure to wash canning jars and rings in warm, soapy water. Rinse the jars thoroughly and dry them. If you choose to pressure can homemade applesauce, you won’t need to sanitize the jars.
However, I’m going to share with you how to water bath applesauce because it’s an easier method for those who are new to canning.
But when you water bath jars, it’s important to sanitize your jars. You can either sanitize them using your oven by turning your oven on its lowest setting.
From there, turn the oven off, but place the jars inside the oven in a deep pan to allow the jars to be heated thoroughly.
If you have a dishwasher which has the sanitize option, use it to wash, dry, and sanitize your jars. After your jars are cleaned and sanitized, you’re ready to begin processing your applesauce.
6. Process the Jars
Fill each of the prepared jars with applesauce. Use a canning funnel to fill the jars with the hot homemade applesauce safely.
When filling the jars, be sure you leave ½ inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Slide a rubber spatula down the side of the jar to remove any air bubbles which may have been locked in the jar during the filling process.
After the air bubbles are removed, place a fresh lid and ring on the jar securely. Place the jars in a water canner and fill the canner with water until all jars are adequately covered.
Turn the stove on high and wait for the water to boil. When the water reaches a boil, start the timer. Both pint and quart jars should be processed for 20 minutes.
When the time is up, turn off the stove, and move forward with the preserving process.
7. Wait and Store
As the timer sounds, grab your jar grabbers. Remove each jar from the water canner safely and place them on a hard surface which has been padded with several layers of towels to help deter scorching.
Tighten each of the rings and let the jars sit for 12 to 24 hours. At the end of the waiting period, run your finger over the top of the jars.
You should’ve heard a ‘ping’ sound during the waiting period. The ping sound is the lids sealing to the jars.
However, if you feel a little button in the center of the jar standing up, you’ll know the jar didn’t seal. If this happens, remove the lid and apply a fresh one. Reprocess the jar following the same steps listed above.
Once you know the jars are sealed, wipe the jars down with a wet cloth to make sure there’s no sticky residue remaining.
Label the jars with what’s inside and the date it was canned. Be sure to store the applesauce in a dark, dry location.
If you store it in an area with too much warmth or sunlight, the contents could reheat and become too warm which could damage the food and cause it to spoil.
After your homemade applesauce is safely stored, you can use it at any time. I am sure you and your family will enjoy it and from now on prefer to make your own instead of continuing to purchase.
It’s a great thing to be able to control ingredients, know what you’re feeding your family, and also know you have the food you like on hand at any time.