Saturday, September 22, 2012

Homemade Applesauce

Fresh from the Orchard!

The (delicious) End Result
24 large apples
1/2 c. water
2 tbs. bottled lemon juice
1/4 c. to 1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla

Peel, core, and thinly slice apples. Put apples into a large pot with water and lemon juice. Cook, covered with a lid until tender, about 20-25 min., stirring occasionally OR cook on high in a crock pot for about 4 hours. When apples are tender, chop coarsely with a metal spoon (or potato masher). Add sugar 1/4 c. at a time until you reach your preferred sweetness. (You may substitute light brown sugar for a rich maple-like flavor.) Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and continue to cook until sugar dissolves. Spoon into hot jars (prepared according to directions) to within 1/2" of top. Release air bubbles, clean rims, and seal. Process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes for pints, and 30 minutes for quarts.
For more information about Home Canning, see this post.

Number of Servings: Makes about 5 pints.

If you get a food mill, you will save loads of time, and the kids can help!  We make applesauce almost every year, so it has been a great investment.
Preparation Variation for Smooth Applesauce:
Fill a large crockpot with whole, small apples. Wash first, but no other prep is necessary for them. Add the water & lemon juice and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8. Run the apples through a food mill. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg & vanilla to the pulp and stir until it dissolves.


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For Apple Butter:
Fill a large crockpot with whole, small apples. Wash first, but no other prep is necessary for them. Add 2 c. water and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8. Run the apples through a food mill. Rinse out your crock pot. Measure 2 qts. apple pulp and put it back into the crock pot. Add 2 c. sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. cloves. Cook on high another 4 hours or low another 8, leaving the lid off for the last 2-3 hours. The mixture should thicken and reduce quite a bit. Ladle hot apple butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Remove air bubbles. Cap and process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner. (If the butter becomes too thick, add water or apple juice until you reach the desired consistency. This has never happened for me though.)

(I had a great system one year where every night I would put the apples in to cook. In the morning, I would run them through the food mill and put it back in the crock pot to cook.  I would process the jars each afternoon. It was a good system!)

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  1. I had never thought to process these in the crockpot. I will have to try this. Also, what type of apples are those?

    1. Mostly Paula Red from a local orchard. Paula Red have a wonderful flavor, but tend to be mushy. They were perfect for applesauce! Didn't need much sugar at all!

  2. Applesauce Day is a BIG biannual event at our house, and I suppose we have another coming up in a couple of weeks. Yours looks great!

    1. Well apples certainly are big in your neck of the woods! Literally! We got some from the Bishops a few years ago and they were the size of grapefruit!!

      Enjoy your applesauce day!

  3. I love to make apple butter in the crock pot! I have given it as Christmas gifts for the last 4 years. I did start taking a shortcut (the fall after my first baby was born) and used store bought unsweetened apple sauce instead of starting with the apples. Saved some time and no one could taste the difference.

    1. Smart! Apple butter is a wonderful gift!

  4. Any options for a cook without a food mill? :)

    1. Sure, you just have to do it the old fashioned way and peel, core and chop your apples before you cook them. If you have a potato ricer, that *may* be an option, though I have not tried it myself.


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