Let’s learn how to make applesauce and can it! Making applesauce is a great way to preserve apples and canning applesauce is a pretty simple process. Applesauce is a great ingredient and a great snack to have on hand!
It is the season of apples. I love apples! Green, red, sour, or sweet, I love them all.
I have two apple trees. I didn’t plant any of them, they were here when we moved in. They are very old and, unfortunately, very sick.
They produce little apples that are full of black spots and never reach picking size, they usually fall to the ground while still small. The inside of the tree is soft and rotten, probably a home to chubby worms.
A local cooperative extension agent told me years ago that it’s pretty much impossible to grow organic fruit in NC and I fear he is right. There are just too many bugs and they are vicious.
How to Make Applesauce and Can It…
I am a fan of the famous apple pie just like anyone else, but there is an apple cake I make all the time that is so easy to put together and is so delicious that I love even more.
We also love apples as a snack (these apple chips in the oven are so good!), just raw by themselves or with peanut butter or dipped in honey.
And then there is applesauce… The perfect baby food, the perfect snack, the base for homemade apple butter, and the perfect ingredient to have on hand for baking. And, the perfect way to preserve apples!
I am going to share with you a super simple applesauce recipe. The only two ingredients in it are apples and water. That’s it, cause I don’t think you really need anything else.
You can eat it right away, you can refrigerate it, you can freeze it, or you can can it. I make big batches of applesauce so I can some of it for later..
Best Apples For Applesauce…
Feel free to use any apple variety that you come by but generally speaking, it’s better to choose a sweet variety (So… Not Granny Smith).
It really doesn’t matter what variety of apples you choose, they can be red apples or green apples or even crabapples.
Make sure though, that the apples that you choose for applesauce are ripe, juicy, and sweet.
If you find a variety with softer, “sandier” texture like Golden delicious for example, that’s even better but not really mandatory. We are going to cook and puree the apples with an immersion blender anyway.
How Many Apples Do You Need…
I used 28 medium size apples and ended up with 4 quarts (or 8 pints), just to give you an idea…
“An average of 21 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 13½ pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 48 pounds and yields 14 to 19 quarts of sauce – an average of 3 pounds per quart.”
Hopefully, this makes sense…
Tools That We Are Going to Need…
Before we get to work, let’s gather all the tools that we are going to need…
Cutting board – we are going to peel and dice the apples in preparation for the applesauce. I love working on my wooden cutting board but any will do.
Knife – to core and dice the apples.
Large mixing bowl – while we work, we’ll add the diced apples into a bowl with water to prevent them from turning brown.
Large pot – to cook the applesauce in.
Two cup measuring cup – to measure the water.
Wooden spoon – to stir things…
Immersion blender – to puree the apples into sauce.
Lids and bands – use new lids to ensure that the seal is in good condition and that your jars seal properly. Feel free to reuse bands.
Small pot – to sanitize the lids and bands in.
Canning utensils – we’ll use all of them… The funnel, bubble remover, magnetic lid lifter, and jar lifters.
Ladle – to ladle the hot applesauce into the jars.
Paper towel – we’ll use a damp paper towel to clean the rim of the jar before we cover and close it.
Water bath canner – apples are naturally high in acid so we can easily can them in the water bath canner.
All right, we are ready! Let’s learn how to make applesauce and can it!
Step 1: Making Applesauce…
I started with 28 medium gala apples…
Our next step is to clean the apples. If you have a food mill, you can skip this step and cook the apples with the skin and the core.
Then, when they are soft, run them through the food mill and it will get rid of the skin and core. I don’t have a food mill so I do this by hand (plus, I love having the fresh peels and core pieces for homemade apple scrap vinegar).
I am considering though, getting this apple peeler, slicer, corer thingy… But for now, I just use a good old knife…
Ok, let’s prepare the apples for applesauce…
I start by peeling the apples…
Then cutting them in half…
Then in half again so the apple is now quartered…
I position the knife at an angle above the core area and cut it off…
So I am left with a clean quarter apple.
Next, I like to dice the quarters because they cook faster this way but you don’t have to do this step.
It will take some time to clean and cut all the apples so make sure you keep the ones that are done in a bowl of cold water so they don’t turn brown.
Step 2: Cooking Applesauce…
Next, I add the apples into a large stockpot…
And add two cups of water. The water will also help prevent sticking and scorching.
I cook the apples on medium-high heat stirring frequently…
Until they come to a boil. I keep them boiling gently for 30 minutes or so, still stirring frequently until they are soft
When the apples are soft, I remove the pot from the heat and let it stand for a few minutes before using my stick blender to puree the apples into a sauce.
Two important notes here…
First, applesauce is a mean mean kinda sauce! If you try to stir it or turn your apples into sauce while the pot is on the stovetop it will bubble and explode in your face!
Don’t ask me how I know that…
Remove the pot from the heat, give it a minute and then uncover it and go in there with the blender.
Second, it’s up to you if you want to puree it all the way. If you’d like chunky applesauce, go for it. As far as canning, it doesn’t matter.
If the consistency is right for you, then your applesauce is ready.
If you’d like it a little thicker, cover the pot but place the lid in a way that it’s slanted on one side to allow steam to escape and cook it a little longer until it’s thick enough.
If you feel that it’s too thick, you can add some more water and mix.
Once your applesauce is ready you can serve it hot (sprinkle cinnamon on it or nutmeg) or you can keep it in the fridge or can it.
If you want to learn how to can applesauce read on!
Step 3: Sanitizing the Jars, Lids, and Bands…
To can my applesauce, I start by sanitizing the jars and preparing the water bath canner.
I used 4 quart jars. I filled the canner with enough water to cover the jars by about an inch and placed the jars inside the canner (on the rack).
I place the canner on the stovetop and turn the heat to high. I let the water come to a boil and keep them boiling for 5-7 minutes to sanitize the jars.
While the water in the water bath are heating, I also place the lids and bands in a smaller pot and cover them with water.
I bring the water to a boil and let it boil for five minutes to sanitize the lids and bands. I then turn the heat off and leave the lids and bands in the hot water until I need them to cover and close the jars.
You can do all this sanitizing business as the apples are cooking.
Step 4: Filling the Jars With Applesauce…
The jars are ready, the lids and bands are ready, and the applesauce is ready and hot… We are ready to can applesauce.
I use the jar lifters to grab a jar from the canner and empty the water from it back to the canner. I place it on the wooden cutting board…
And use my ladle and funnel to fill it with the sauce.
I make sure to leave half an inch to an inch of headspace…
I use the bubble remover to remove any air pockets and bubbles…
Next, I use a clean, damp paper towel to wipe the rim of the jar clean…
Before I center a lid on the rim…
And close the jar with a band, finger tight.
Step 5: Processing Applesauce in the Water Bath Canner…
Once all the jars are filled with applesauce, the last and very important step is to process the jars in the water bath canner.
I place the jars back in the canner (on the rack), and turn the heat to high. Bring the water to a rolling boil and process quart jars for 20 minutes and pint and half-pint jars 15 minutes.
If you live in altitude higher than 1000 feet, make sure to adjust the processing time according to the table above.
When the processing time is up, turn the heat off and uncover the canner.
Let the jars stay in the hot water for 5 more minutes before you remove them with the jar lifters.
Set them on a kitchen towel on the counter and let them cool completely overnight.
Step 6: Storing Applesauce…
Once the jars are completely cool, check to make sure that they sealed properly before storing them.
I do that by pressing in the center of the lid. If there is no movement there it means that the jar is sealed and ready for storage.
I usually remove the band and wipe the jar before storing it on a shelf or in the pantry. I like storing the jars without the bands because this way I have a better view into the jar and I can make sure that nothing funny is growing in there.
I can also reuse the bands for canning something else.
If you have a jar that didn’t seal, you can keep it in the fridge or try to process it again (replace the lid and clean the rim).
Canned applesauce will last a long time on the shelf… Between 12-18 month but we usually use it sooner.
This is such a simple way to preserve apples!
I love that apples have enough acid and sugar in them that all that you need is the apples themselves… No need to add anything in order to can them as applesauce.
I use my applesauce as a snack, we all love it. And I also use my applesauce in baked goods. Fall is my time to can applesauce and I usually try to make sure that we have enough for the whole year.
I hope that you liked this tutorial! Here are a few other canning recipes for you to try…
- 28 medium apples
- 2 cups of water
- Peel your apples, remove the core, and dice them. As you work, add the diced apples to a big bowl filled with cold water to prevent them from turning brown.
- Add the diced apples to a large pot. Add 2 cups of water and set on the stovetop. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a gentle boil.
- Cook the apples approximately 30 minutes or until they are soft, stirring frequently.
- When the apples are soft, remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes. Then use an immersion blender to puree the apples into a sauce. You can leave your sauce chunky or puree it all the way, it's up to you.
If you like the consistency, your applesauce is ready. If your applesauce is too thick you can add some water. If it's too thin, you can return the pot to the stovetop and cook it a little longer. Make sure to partly cover the pot.
- Add enough water to your water bath canner to cover the jars by about an inch (place the empty jars on the rack). Set the canner on the stovetop and bring the water to a boil. let the water boil for five minutes to sanitize the jars.
- Meanwhile, add the lids and bands to a smaller pot and cover them with water. Set on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Let the water boil for 5 minutes to sanitize the lids and bands. Turn the heat off and leave the lids and bands in the hot water for now.
- Grab a jar from the canner, empty the water back to the canner and set it on the counter. Use the canning funnel and a ladle to fill the jar with the hot applesauce leaving one-inch headspace.
- Use the bubble remover to remove air bubbles by moving it around the inside of the jar.
- Clean the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel before centering a lid on the rim and closing the jar with the band, fingertight.
- Add the jars back to the water bath canner, turn the heat to high and bring the water back to a boil. Process pint jars 15 minuts and quart jars 20 minutes (adjust processing time according to the table below if you live above 1000 feet in elevation).
- When processing time is up, turn the heat off and uncover the canner. Let the jars rest in the canner for 5 minutes before removing them. Set them on a kitchen towel on the counter and let them cool completely overnight before storing in the pantry.
Adjust processing time according to the table below...
I usually remove the bands before storing my jars. This way it's easier for me to monitor what's going on inside of the jar and I can reuse the bands.
Canned applesauce will last 12-18 months on the shelf.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 quart jar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 662Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 17mgCarbohydrates: 176gFiber: 31gSugar: 132gProtein: 3g
Hi! I’m Lady Lee. I help homesteaders simplify their homesteading journey while still producing a ton of food! I am a single mother of four, I was born in Israel and raised in an agricultural commune called a Kibbutz. Now I homestead in central NC.