With Sharon Peterson
What kind of apples are best for canning applesauce? Maybe you like extra sweet or extra tart?
We love a Jona-Gold apple we get from a local orchard. Especially for homemade applesauce. Not only is it the best tasting (in our humble opinion), but there’s also no sugar needed!
Though I always use just Jona-Gold, I’ve read that using several types of apples will give your applesauce a nicer flavor. You might want to experiment and see what combinations will do for your family.
If you use a red-skinned apple, your homemade applesauce will have a beautiful pink tinge. The jars you see here are 3 types of apples in canned applesauce. Can you pick out the Jona-Gold? The Jona-Gold has a mottled red and yellow color, which gives the applesauce a pink color.
The basic idea behind how to make applesauce is to cook the apples, mush them up, and add sweetener if desired, getting rid of the skins and cores somewhere along the way.
If you have a food mill or strainer, you can cook the apples before getting rid of the skin and cores. The strainer does the work of peeling and coring. If you do not have one, then you must peel and core apples prior to cooking.
When canning applesauce, you may process in a water bath canner.
Gather Your Canning Supplies:
- water bath canner
- canning jars
- canning seals and rings
- jar lifter and canning funnel
- large stock pot
- large spoons
- sharp knife
- towels and dish cloths
- apples (you will need about 21 pounds per canner load of 7 quarts)
- sugar, to taste
- cinnamon (optional, a nice addition)
Canning Applesauce If You Have a Food Mill:
If you have a food mill, it makes things very easy.
Wash and quarter apples. Place in large pot (approx. 5-6 quarts in size).
Don’t overfill your pot as you need to be able to stir the apples even before they have softened. Otherwise, they will stick. (Ask me how I know!) I have two pots that I will sometimes get going at the same time.
Once (and only once!) I tried to cook all my apples at once in a huge stock pot that I have. Big mistake. I could not get the apples stirred up very well, so they scorched to the bottom. I rescued the apples off the top and continued. Sometimes, we can try to save time, but only make more problems.
Add 1 cup water to help prevent sticking. Cover and simmer until tender, stirring often.
Press through your food mill. If you are canning applesauce with a red-skinned variety of apple, it will pick up the color. Pink, gorgeous, and appetizing.
I use my Victorio Food Mill. Put the apples–skins, cores, and all–into the hopper, press down as you turn the crank, and the skins will be pushed out the end while your applesauce will emerge from the strainer.
Canning Applesauce Without a Food Mill:
If you don’t have a food mill, you just need to peel and core your apples before cooking.
Peel, core, and quarter apples.
This is where the apple peeler-corer-slicer comes in handy. It will cut your time in half. If you use one, see instructions that came with it. Otherwise, just peel, core, and slice the old-fashioned way with a paring knife.
Tip: Thinner slices will soften much faster.
Place slices in a large pot (see my overfilled stock pot fiasco above), adding 1 cup water to prevent sticking.
Cook until tender, stirring often.
Mash with a potato masher. This works well if you like a chunky applesauce recipe. If desired, you can use a wire whisk on the apples at the end of cooking to get a smoother consistency.
Finishing Your Homemade Applesauce Recipe
Add sugar to resulting applesauce to taste. I prefer not to put any sugar, but it all depends on the type of apple. Go ahead and taste it and add sugar if you want. Cinnamon is another option.
Reheat sauce to a boil, again stirring often to prevent sticking.
Fill hot jars with hot homemade applesauce, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles, and place your lids. For more details, follow water bath canning instructions.
Final step is to process in a water bath canner. It is important to use the correct time for your altitude. See the chart below to determine your processing time.
For more information on altitude adjustments and why they are important, check this page.
0-1,000 feet needs 15 minutes.
1,000 – 6,000 feet needs 20 minutes.
above 6,000 feet needs 25 minutes.
0-1,000 feet needs 20 minutes.
1,000 – 3,000 feet needs 25 minutes.
3,000 – 6,000 feet needs 30 minutes.
above 6,000 feet needs 35 minutes.
Best Apple Peeler Corer Slicer Video
Source for canning applesauce recipe procedures: NCHFP.
“Question Is it safe to have peels in your applesauce (water bath canning)? I always peel the apples, but my peeler slicer corer gadget has an issue and it didn’t completely peel the apples. I planned on putting the apples & bits of peel in the food processor so there aren’t chunks of peels, but thought I should ask you first if it’s safe. Also, what’s with folks not adding lemon juice? Ball says it’s not optional … Am I being overly cautious here? Lol
Thank you in advance, Sharon. So glad I found you on Facebook & Youtube.
Answer: Yes, it is okay to have bits of apple peel in your sauce. It doesn’t hurt a thing. It is just a texture consideration.
As far as lemon juice, I know some directions call for it and some don’t. It certainly doesn’t hurt to use it, so if you want to, go right ahead. I don’t use it. I double checked my source for information to be sure something had not changed and nope, they do not include lemon juice.
And keep asking questions! I love seeing folks searching for information and not just guessing when it comes to home canning.
Question: How long does home-canned apple sauce last?
Answer: Once canned, applesauce lasts for at least 12 months, like all canned goods that are stored under the proper conditions (dark and dry, with no major temperature variations). Once opened, however, I suggest eating the applesauce within a week or two. Note that if you use less sugar in your applesauce, it will not last as long after opening the jars. As always, discard if you see mold or other signs of spoilage.
Question: Can you overcook applesauce?
Answer: Yes, if you are not careful, you can scorch the bottom. And as you cook the applesauce, it will get thicker and thicker to a point where it is not sauce anymore. Add some cinnamon and sugar–you’ll get apple butter!
Question: My applesauce was too thin. What did I do wrong? And how can I fix runny applesauce?
Answer: You may have added too much water when you cooked your apples for canning applesauce. You only need a small amount. 1 cup is if you have a nice full pot, so you might try 1/2 cup next time. Or if you don’t have many apples, you can go even less. The goal is that you have enough moisture so you don’t burn the bottom. You can also leave off the lid so it doesn’t collect moisture from the steam.
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Page last updated: 7/26/2019.