November 11, 2011 by Sara Kreidler
Last fall, I made apple sauce from scratch for the first time and was pretty amazed at how darn easy it was to make, and how much better it tasted than the store bought stuff. Of course, that was before I went canning crazy, so I froze the applesauce for later use. But now that I am quite comfortable with canning and with dealing with mass quantities of produce, I decided to take it up a notch and can my applesauce this year.
A half bushel of apples weighs about 21-24 pounds, and will yield 6-8 quarts of applesauce (depending upon the size of the apples and how much waste you produce in the process of peeling and coring your apples). We got 8 quarts and 1 pint of apple sauce out of our half bushel. The following recipe if for a half bushel, but you can easily cut it down depending upon how many apples you have.
- 1/2 bushel of mixed apples, peeled, quartered and cored
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
- 4 cup sweet apple cider, divided
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 6 cinnamon sticks, divided
- Wash the jars in the dishwasher.
- While the jars are washing, divide all of the ingredients evenly between two large cast iron pots and mix to combine. Bring both pots to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Turn off heat and remove and discard the cinnamon sticks. Using a potato masher, mash the apples with the juices until the desired smoothness/chunkiness ratio is achieved. If you want a very smooth apple sauce, use a stick blender. Recover and keep apple sauce warm over a low flame until you are ready to fill your jars, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Also, while the jars are washing and the apple sauce is cooking, prep your canning area. I like to put down old (clean) kitchen towels and hot pads so I don’t have to worry about scorching the counter. Get your jar lifter, lid wand, ladle, rings, lids, and wide mouth funnel ready. I use a chopstick to remove air bubbles, but you can also use a small plastic spatula or plastic spoon (just don’t use a metal utensil, which can scratch and/or crack your jars).
- Remove hot jars from dishwasher, place inside canner and fill the canner with hot water so that all of the jars are full and covered by 1 inch of water. Put the canner on your largest burner and bring the water to a boil.
- Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Add the lids to the simmering water; do not boil the lids.
- Remove the pot of simmering lids from the stove and place on hot pad near your jar filling station. Place the apple sauce near your filling station. Have the canning tools listed in step 3 handy.
- Remove 1 jar from the canning pot and dump out the water. Place the jar on the counter, place the funnel on top of the jar and ladle in the hot apple sauce, leaving 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar. Take the funnel off of the jar and use a chopstick to remove the air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel. Use the lid wand to remove 1 lid from the pot and place it on top of the jar. Screw the ring onto the jar until it is finger-tip tight (you don’t want it to be too tight or the air won’t be able to escape during processing). Repeat with each jar until all of the jars are full.
- Return the jars to the boiling water in the canner. The water should cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Place the lid on the canner and process at a full boil for 20 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel on the counter. Do not disturb the jars while they cool.
- Label the sealed jars and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year. If any of the lids fail to seal, the unsealed jars should be refrigerated because they are not shelf stable.