Canning applesauce is a family event. Ryan fondly remembers that when he was just a little guy he and his sister used to argue about who got to crank the applesauce through the strainer. Apparently that was the coveted job. Maybe we need to have kids. I have fond memories of chilly fall days spent making cider with my family while sitting out in the apple orchard on my uncle’s farm.
A couple of weeks ago I finally stumbled upon my prey—140 lbs. of Fuji apples for just $35. That’s a lot of apples! There’s something irresistible about home-canned applesauce that keeps driving me back to making it even though, not gonna lie, it’s a pretty ginormous undertaking.
So, on Sunday morning Ryan and I got up early and went straight to work. I chopped and boiled the apples while he cranked them through the Victorio strainer and filled the jars. I think we made about 25 quarts of applesauce plus a several half-pints of apple butter. It’s really hard to count the applesauce, though, since about 6 of those quarts have already disappeared. Yum.
Yeah it’s a ton of work, but the product is so delicious that I’ve got another 50 lbs. of apples sitting here ready to go again. Take a day and make this now. You’ll thank yourself later.
The recipe below demonstrates the way that Ryan and I made applesauce using our canning equipment and a Victorio Strainer. See notes if you have no special equipment.
- Jar grabber
- Lid lifter
- Canning jars (we used pints and quarts)
- New lids for jars
- Jar rings
- One or more large stock pots
- Large spoons
- Victorio Strainer (see notes if you don't have one)
- Large pot for canning** (see notes if you don't have one)
- Wash apples
- Quarter apples (no need to remove stems or seeds)
- Boil in stock pots until soft (maybe 20 minutes?)
- Strain apples through Victorio Strainer.
- Using the funnel, fill your jars to 1-inch from the top. Be sure to clean the top edge for a good seal. (See notes on sterilizing jars before filling)***
- Using the jar lifter, carefully place all of your jars into the canning pot.
- Pour water over the jars until they are covered.
- Bring water to a boil. Boil 25 minutes for quarts, and 20 minutes for pints.
- Carefully remove the jars from the canner. Place them on cardboard to cool, spaced so that they do not touch each other. Do not touch the jars, either. This could cause them to falsely seal. Let the jars sit overnight. In the morning, look to see if the lids look slightly sunken in. This means they sealed. If any are like a mini trampoline when you push on them, this means they did not seal. I recommend sticking it in the refrigerator or freezer immediately. Re-canning it is kind of sketchy.
- (See http://www.pickyourown.org/applesauce.htm#.Umn3RhxH31I for all kinds of details about making applesauce as well as adjusting boiling times for elevation.)
- Wash your apples
- Peel, quarter, and core your apples.
- Chop into quarters or chunks.
- Boil until soft in a large stock pot.
- Chunks will make chunky applesauce (wow.) If using quarters, blend them to applesauce consistency.
- Follow directions above for canning, or simply freeze (so easy!)
- If you don't have a fancy canning pot, you can use any stock pot as long as it is taller than your jars. Just place a towel on the bottom so that the jars don't touch the bottom and process according to above directions.
- *Ok, tradition says to use a variety of apples, but we only used Fuji and we both think it's the best applesauce we've ever tasted!
- **Canning pots need to have some type of a "lifter" to keep the jars from touching the bottom. We found a cheap, HUGE, tamale pot for about $20. It holds up to 10 quarts and it's been perfect.
- ***Be sure to sterilize your jars before filling. This will help to prevent microbial growth in your food. Yuck! You don't want that! You can sterilize your jars by running them through the dishwasher, or you can boil them for several minutes like us since we don't have a dishwasher. A friend shared with me that you can also fill a metal casserole dish or tray with a couple of inches of water, place the jars in the tray upside down, and bake them with the water at a rolling boil. The steam sterilizes them. Haven't tried that method yet but sounds good and would save burner space.