I didn’t like applesauce until recently when we had dinner at a friend’s house and were served applesauce as a condiment to go with some spicy German sausages. I gave it a try, and it was amazing! The sweet and tart applesauce complimented the spices in the sausages to create a whole new flavor experience. I was hooked! I decided to try making easy homemade applesauce at home, and here’s the result.
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Seeing New Possibilities
We happen to have a small apple orchard, but in the past, I have mainly used the apples for apple crisp or apple cider. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, quite a few apples went to waste. This year, I was determined to do better. I gave apples away and I made as much apple crisp as we could eat. When I decided to replicate the applesauce and sausage combination at my own dinner table a short time ago, I put applesauce on my grocery list. Wait a minute! I had a whole orchard full of apples just waiting to be used. Since I had never eaten applesauce before, I hadn’t concocted homemade applesauce. I looked for a good recipe and gave it a try.
Testing and Tweaking
I found a recipe that looked easy, but I was lacking a couple of ingredients. I also wanted to make enough to preserve in my trusty pressure canner, so I needed to increase and adapt the recipe to be canner-friendly. The result is the easy homemade applesauce recipe below. The most time-consuming part of the process is peeling the apples. I made that more bearable by turning on a movie!
Which Kind of Apples are Best for Applesauce?
At my house, we are fortunate to have an orchard filled with heirloom apple trees. I like to experiment with different combinations. They are all delicious. The larger apples mean less peeling, so I usually use the larger varieties, like Hudson’s Golden Gem. Pink Pearl apples make a lovely pink applesauce, but we never seem to have very many of them. Most recently, I used some little Karmen apples, which were tasty, but small. Even though I peeled and sliced 24 apples, the recipe only yielded 4 pints instead of 5. So, if I ever use that variety again for applesauce, I’m going to peel about 30. I usually try to peel more than I will need for 5 pints, and if I have any extra applesauce, I just put it in a storage container and refrigerate the surplus.
Of course, you do not have to can this applesauce. If you reduce the quantity, you may just want to store the syrup in the refrigerator. The full recipe makes about five pints, so here is the equipment you need to assemble beforehand if you are going to can the applesauce. You will need:
A pressure canner like this one. With this, I can process up to 16 pints at one time.
A small metal saucepan with lid (for heating the jar lids)
A large stockpot (for cooking and blending the applesauce)
1 set of canning tools which have made all the difference for me. I dreaded canning before I made this purchase because I made such a mess all over the kitchen. The tools in the set, especially the funnel, have cut down on the canning mess immensely. I am also able to safely handle the hot jars using the tongs, lid lifter, jar wrench, and jar lifter. I would have given up canning long ago were it not for these tools. I’ve had my set for about 15 years.
Set five canning bands (some call them rings) aside, near where you will be filling the jars.
Place the five glass jars in the water bath canner. The water should cover the jars by at least an inch. Turn the heat to medium-high.
Place five jar lids in the small saucepan with enough water to cover the lids. Cover the pan and heat the water on low. I’ve always been told not to let the water come to a boil. Now it’s time to make the applesauce!
Easy Homemade Applesauce Ingredients
6 to 8 lbs of apples (about 14 to 20 apples, depending on the size), peeled, cored, and quartered (Some say Gravensteins are best. I used a variety of heirloom apples from our orchard. Any combination will work.)
6 Tbsp lemon juice (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Up to 1 cup of white sugar
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt (Surprise! Salt really brings out the flavor of the fruit.)
Peel and core the apples. I like to do this while watching a movie on the Hallmark Channel Turner Classic Movies, or sometimes, Disney Plus. Please don’t judge me.
Place the peeled, cored, and quartered apples into a large pot. Add the lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, water, and salt.
Bring to a boil on high heat, then lower the temperature, cover the pot, and maintain a low simmer for about 30 minutes, until the apples are completely tender and cooked through.
Once the apples are cooked through, remove the pot from the heat. Mash the cooked apples. You can use a potato masher to mash the cooked apples in the pot to make a chunky applesauce. I like to use a round masher, like this one.
Important: The apples need to be removed from the heat before mashing. If this is not done, the hot apple mixture will splatter all over. Trust me, I know this.
After mashing, if you would like a smoother applesauce, use an immersion blender. It’s great for pureeing soups as well!
This photo was taken after using the immersion blender for only one minute. What a difference it made!
If the applesauce is too thick, add more water to thin it out. Not sweet enough? Add more sugar to taste. If too sweet, add more lemon juice.
Pour applesauce into pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace, and process the jars in a pressure canner for 8 minutes at 6 pounds of pressure.
Makes about 5 pints.
Easy Homemade Applesauce
- Canning Kit (optional)
- Canning Jars
- Canning Lids and Bands
- Pressure Canner
- Large Stockpot
- Immersion Blender (optional)
- 6-8 pounds apples
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Peel and core the apples.
- Place the peeled, cored, and quartered apples into a large pot. Add the lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, water, and salt.
- Bring to a boil on high heat, then lower the temperature, cover the pot, and maintain a low simmer for about 30 minutes, until the apples are completely tender and cooked through.
- Once the apples are cooked through, remove the pot from the heat. Mash the cooked apples.
- After mashing, if you would like a smoother applesauce, use an immersion blender to puree.
- Pour applesauce into pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Process the jars in a pressure canner for 8 minutes at 6 pounds of pressure.
A Wide Variety of Uses
I’ve tried the applesauce on pork chops as well as sausage. I’ll most likely not eat a whole bowlful, but some people might want to. I will stick to using it as more of a condiment for now.
Are You Now Craving Easy Homemade Applesauce?
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. It’s an excellent way to make good use of apples, and may be enjoyed for months to come whenever a new jar is opened. Do you have any applesauce tips or canning tips to share? I can use all of the tips I can get.
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