Easy homemade applesauce (with optional canning instructions)

I am carrying a tinge of sadness that we'll be gone for the entire month of September, and that this August (for the first time ever) has proved too busy for foraging wild apples for saucing. It's one of my favorite markers of the season's change, signifying the turn from high summer toward fall, and I feel a bit disoriented to miss it.  
 
But with our departure to Ireland just over a week away, this year seems a fine time to buy apples instead. (How lucky we are to have an organic orchard just over the hill from our farm!) And the orchard we planted is beginning to bear fruit, so perhaps we'll come home in October to a few ripe Asian pears as well. 
 
So today, as I hustle about readying the farm for the house sitter and packing rain gear, warm hats, and an unreasonable number of knitting projects into bags and backpacks, I thought I'd share this post from 2015 with you. It contains everything you need to know to convert apples (wild or tame) into the finest sauce around.
 
Will you make some sauce in September with us in mind? Because I'm certain that's not on my list this week, as much as I'd love it to be.
 
My recipe (with optional canning instructions) follows. (And if apple crisp or cobbler is more your speed, this refined sugar-free recipe won't disappoint.)
 
How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)

How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)

How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)

How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)

How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)

We picked two bushels of apples at the nearby organic orchard about a week ago. And because we don't have a root cellar, keeping them on through winter means freezing or canning.

So we put by a few bags of apple crisp and apple pie filling, ate more than we probably should have, and turned the rest into sauce.

Homemade applesauce.

Until you've made a habit of shunning that flavorless store-bought sort and making your own, you just can't know what you're missing. Because alongside homemade sriracha, dilly beans, and canned tomatoes, applesauce is a pantry staple around here.

If you care to make your own (for canning or fresh eating), my recipe follows!

Easy Homemade Applesauce

(made with or without a food mill) 

I will confess to never having made a batch of applesauce this small. Double or triple or exponentially increase as needed. But know that too many apples crammed into a small pot may scorch. So if you're making a bigger batch, divide it among a few large pans.

Ingredients for approximately 7 pints of applesauce

10 lbs apples

1 1/2 c water

optional spices – cardamon, cinnamon, ginger, clove, orange peel, etc.

optional sweetener of your choice

How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)

How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)

With a food mill

If you have a food mill (mine is this version (afflink), scored at a second hand store more than a decade ago), making applesauce couldn't be easier. As a bonus, food mill applesauce is often rosy pink from all of those apple peels.

1. Quarter your apples. No need to core or peel them. Remove any bad spots and compost.

2. Combine quartered apple with water in a cooking pot. Ideally you will have a large, thick-bottomed pot. (If your pot is undersized or thin-bottomed, watch your apples carefully to prevent scorching.) Add water and set over medium heat.

3. When the water begins to simmer, carefully stir your apples, then cover the pot and set to low heat.

4. Every five to ten minutes stir your apples. (I prefer a wide wooden spoon or spatula so that I can turn the apples effectively.) If the pan is becoming dry, add another cup of water.

5. After 20 to 40 minutes your apples should be soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool for one hour.

6. Set up your food mill and transfer your partially cooled applesauce into the hopper.

7. Process apples.

How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)

 
How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)

7. Return processed applesauce to cooking pot. Taste and adjust flavor as desired. You may choose to add sweetener, cinnamon, ginger, or other spices. (We left our batch plain.)

8. If you will be canning your applesauce, bring to a simmer over low heat before packing jars.

9. Hot water bath can for 15 minutes for pints or half-pints, 20 minutes for quarts.

10. Enjoy!

How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)

Without a food mill

If you don't have a food mill, making applesauce is still easy! There is just a different first step you need to take. The best part of not having a mill? Perfect. Chunky. Applesauce. Oh, yes.

1. Peel and core your apples, then cut into approximately 1" cubes. Remove any bad spots and compost.

2. Combine your prepared apple with water in a cooking pot. Ideally you will have a large, thick-bottomed pot. (If your pot is undersized or thin-bottomed, watch your apples carefully to prevent scorching.) Add water and set over medium heat.

3. When the water begins to simmer, carefully stir your apples, then cover the pot and set to low heat.

4. Every five to ten minutes stir your apples. (I prefer a wide wooden spoon or spatula so that I can turn the apples effectively.) If the pan is becoming dry, add another cup of water. After 20 to 30 minutes your apples should be soft.

5. For chunky applesauce, proceed to step six. For smooth applesauce, either puree with an immersion blender while hot or allow to cool for one hour, then puree in batches in your blender. (Do not puree hot applesauce in your blender as it can volcano out the top!)

6. Return processed applesauce to cooking pot. Taste and adjust flavor as desired. You may choose to add sweetener, cinnamon, ginger, or other spices. (We left our batch plain.) If you won't be canning your applesauce, simmer with optional spices/sweetener for five minutes, then cool and refrigerate or freeze.

8. If you will be canning your applesauce bring to a simmer over low heat before packing jars.

9. Hot water bath can for 15 minutes for pints or half-pints, 20 minutes for quarts.

10. Enjoy!

P.S. When did this applesauce helper…

How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)

 
…become this one?
 
Oh, my heart.
 
How to make easy, homemade applesauce. (For canning or eating fresh!)
P.P.S. You can find my choice for canning supplies – along with ideas for sourcing them on the cheap – here
 
Originally posted in 2015.

Leave a Reply