How to Make Homemade Applesauce

You think making and canning your own applesauce or jam is difficult or expensive?  Not at all!  Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. The applesauce will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store, and by selecting the right apples, it will be so naturally-sweet that you won't need to add any sugar at all.

Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years, and require no special attention.

I learned years ago how to make jam and applesauce watching my mother and grandmother when I was a child.  My grandmother and mother always made it, and now if I want it, I've got to make it myself (funny how that growing up stuff works?)

And here's how you can, too.

 

Directions for Making Applesauce

Ingredients and Equipment

 

  • Apples (see step 1)
  • Cinnamon
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
  • Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sterilize them. ($2 at WalMart)
  • Jar funnel ($2 at Walmart)
  • At least 2 large pots
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • Ball jars (Publix, WalMart carry then - about $8 per dozen quart jars including the lids and rings)
  • 1 Water Bath Canner (a huge pot to sterilize the jars of applesauce after filling) (about $20 at mall kitchen stores, WalMart) You CAN use a large pot instead, but the canners are deeper, and have a rack top make lifting the jars out easier. If you plan on canning every year, they're worth the investment.
  • Seive:
    • KitchenAid with the Sieve/grinder attachments ($370) OR  
    • a Foley Food Mill ($20) OR  
    •  if you are REALLY into a tedious, time-consuming method, a simple metal sieve. 

Recipe and Directions

Step 1 - Selecting the apples

The most important step!  You need apples that are sweet - NOT something like Granny Smith's.  Yeah, I know you like them (why do sweet women like sour apples???) and even if I did, they still wouldn't make good applesauce - you'd have to add a lot of sugar. 

Instead, choose apples that are naturally sweet, like Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Rome and always use a mixture - never just one type.  This year I used 4 bushels of red delicious and one each of Fuji, Yellow Delicious, Gala and Rome.  This meant it was so sweet I did not need to add any sugar at all.  And the flavor is great! The Fuji's and Gala's give it an aromatic flavor!

 

 

Step 2 - How many apples and where to get them

The Farmer's Market in Forest Park, Georgia carries them all by the bushel in late September at $11 to $16 per bushel.

You'll get about 14 quarts of applesauce per bushel of apples

Step 3 -Wash and chop the apples!

I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the apples in plain cold water.

Chopping them is much faster if you use one of those apple corer/segmenters - you just push it down on an apple and it cuts it into segments.  Note:  You do not peel the apples! You will put the entire apple into the pot to cook.

Step 4 - Cook the Apples

Pretty simple put about 1 inch of water (I used either filtered tap water or store brand apple juice) on the bottom of a huge, thick-bottomed pot. Put the lid on, and the heat on high.  When it gets really going, turn it to medium high until the apples are soft through and through.

 

Step 5 - Sieve the cooked apples

There are two ways to squish the apples through a sieve: either through a hand-cranked Foley food mill (about $20 at most mall kitchen stores; or through a KitchenAid sieve/grinder (with the attachments, about $300, but it l;lasts a lifetime).  You CAN also use a simple metal sieve, but it will be VERY tedious, hard work - if you plan on making applesauce every year,  spring for the 20 bucks for the foodmill. 

Basically, you put the cooked apples (including the skins, seeds, cores and stems) into the top hopper, and use the wooden plunger to push it in.

 

 

The device pushes it against a sieve and the applesauce comes out underneath (in the chrome pot in the photo at left ), and the debris shoots out the side into the sink - see photo below.

If the idea of shelling out $250 for  KitchenAid, plus the additional $120 for the grinder / sieve attachment doesn't appeal to you, you can still make applesauce using a Foley Food Mill, pictured at right.  They're available ay most mall kitchen stores for about $20.  Obviously you have to crank it by hand, which is ok if you have child labor and aren't making a lot.  If you are only making a dozen or two jars or don't have other uses for a KitchenAid, then this is a practical alternative.

There is also a VERY nice, versatile strainer. pictured at right!  See the bottom of this page for more information and to order!

Deluxe Food Strainer & Sauce Maker

Step 6 - Season and keep the applesauce hot

Put the applesauce into a large pot. Add cinnamon to taste.  You should not need to add any sugar.  

The applesauce does not need any further cooking; just keep it hot until you get enough made to fill the jars you will put into the canner (Canners hold seven jars at once, whether they are quart or pint size)

Step 7 - Wash the jars an lids

The dishwasher is fine for the jars - put the lids into a pan of boiling water for at least several minutes. I just put the lids in a small pot of almost boiling water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" (available from WalMart) to pull them out.

Step 8 - Fill the jars

Fill them to within one quarter inch of the top, wipe any spilled applesauce of the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them.  Put them in the canner and keep them cover with at least 1 inch of water and boiling. Boil them for at least 20 minutes (and no more than 30 min).

Step 9 - Done

Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight)  You can then remove the rings if you like.

Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs 
            helpful to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter 
            - to remove lids from the pot 
            of hot water 
  3. Lid 
           - disposable - you may only 
           use them once
  4. Ring 
          - holds the lids on the jar until after
          the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
          - to fill the jars

 

   

Complete Water Bath Canner Kit

This is the same type of  standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce.
This complete kit includes everything you need: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, six pint jars with lids and rings, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. You'll never need anything else except more jars and lids!
Price: $49.99 

Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Usually ships in 1-2 business days

Deluxe Food Strainer & Sauce Maker

D220-DLXpadRetail: $89.95padOur price: $69.00pad

Availability: Usually ships the next business day.

Click here for more information, other strainers and supplies or to order!

With the Deluxe Food Strainer/Sauce Maker, you can make creamy apple sauce and smooth tomato sauce without having to peel and core! This muli-use strainer forces food through a stainless steel screen, automatically separating the juice and pulp from the seeds, shins, and stems. Perfect for purees, creamed soups, baby foods, pie filling, juices, jams, and more. Save time, effort, and money by preparing your own tasty sauces to be used immediately or boiled for future use. Do bushels with ease and in a fraction of the time. Includes the tomato/apple sceen with easy twist on design and instruction/recipe booklet.

The Deluxe model comes with the standard Tomato/Apple Screen; as well as the Berry Screen, Pumpkin Screen, and Grape Spiral. Note

 

   

     Salsa Tomato Mix

Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars?  Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes?  Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

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