Saturday, September 17, 2011

How to Can Applesauce

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

I made my first applesauce this summer. For it I only used the few extra apples I had that were heading south--a pound or so of apples. And I gobbled the applesauce up that day or the next. Now it's fall and I'm drowning in apples. The time has come to learn to can applesauce.

So if you could please bestow the domestic goddess award, I'd appreciate it.

'Whatever,' you say, 'canning applesauce  is, like, shockingly easy. We're saving our domestic goddess award for someone with real skills. Like cheese making.'

And it's true. Applesauce is easy to can. Who knew? You make the applesauce. You put it in clean jars with clean sealing lids. You submerge these in a big old pot of water and boil for 20 minutes.

Applesauce, Canned
makes about 6 pints
Cost: $8.00 for the batch
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

7-8 lb apples (this translates to 16-20 C of apples), peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (or so--I'm not a very careful chopper, but I can peel an apple in no time and keep the skin all in one piece. See, I do have goddess-like qualities, come on...)
2-2 1/2 C water
1-2 C sugar
several slivers of lemon rind
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon

To Make Applesauce:

Peel and chop apples. Put them in a big old pot with the water and lemon rinds. It won't look like enough water, but it is; the apples will release their juices. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10-20 minutes (yeah, I didn't keep very good track). You're going to simmer them until they are super soft. Pull out the rinds and mash the apples right in the pot with a potato masher. I get mine pretty mashed because my family has issues with chunkies. If you want yours super duper smooth, put it in the blender and give it a spin.

While it's still plenty hot, add sugar. I like to add it at the end just so I know how much I really want to put in. Start with a cup, taste it (blow it off first; it's hot, remember), and then add more sugar according to your needs. Ditto the cinnamon.

At this point you can throw it into the fridge and just eat it. Or you can be a domestic goddess like myself and can it, which is surprisingly satisfying.

To Can:

1. Clean your jars. Clean your lids and seals. People generally pour hot hot water on the lids and clean them that way.

2. Pour the hot applesauce into the hot jars (You want hot in hot so your jars don't crack or burst). Leave 1/2 inch of space at the top of the jars (Head space they call this in domestic goddess land).

3. Put the seals and lids on.

4. Submerge jars in a pot of hot water (again, hot in hot so the jars don't burst). You need enough water so you have a good two inches above the top of the jars (stick your finger in and touch the top of a jar; if at least 2 finger joints are submerged, you're okay). Note: You don't need a fancy pot. You just need a large (tall) pot. Also, I lay several butter knives on the bottom of my pot to create a sort of rack so that the bottoms of the jars aren't touching the bottom of the pot (i.e. the most direct source of heat). Is it necessary to keep your jars from cracking? Probably not, but I do it anyway. There's a rack you can buy, but I don't can enough to justify it.

5. Bring water to a boil. When water has reached boiling, let jars boil in the water for 20 minutes.

6. Remove jars from water with special jar removing device. If you don't have one, I once used a set of BBQ tongs to get mine out. It's a little trickier, but it can get the job done.

(This thing is pretty ancient. My mom gave it to me. It reminds me of my early childhood.)

7. Sometimes the lids don't seal right away, but as they cool, they will, so don't despair. If one really doesn't seal, still don't despair: put it in your refrigerator and eat it up in a couple of weeks.



  1. So where did you get such an amazing deal on apples? I've been unable to find them less than $1/lb. Do tell Jean!!!

  2. Oh dear. It must have been late when I finished posting this. I did not get such a good deal on apples. The ones I've seen that are cheap are all about $1/lb also. I'll fix it.

  3. Oh dang it. I seriously woke up in the middle of the night wondering again where you got them, and if you would tell me. :)



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