Why We Love This
I have an apple tree. Well, three apple trees and a pear tree. Apple sauce is a staple in our house for breakfast and after-school snack. This pairs it’s really well with both the Pumpkin Spice and the Cranberry Pecan Granola.
On a really cold day, I warm my apple sauce before topping it with granola.
Directions include the extra step of food preservation but this recipe can stop at making sauce and eating it fresh out of the pot. This is a great first-time canning recipe to help you become comfortable and confident – it’s basically impossible to screw up.
Credit: Michelle, USDA, NCFHP
- Gluten Free
- Peanut Free
- Soy Free
- Dairy Free
- Sodium Free
- Refined Sugar Free
- Heart Healthy
- Low Sugar
- Low Carb
- Low Glycemic Index
- Low Fat
- Kid's Cook
- Make Ahead
- GMO Free
12 pounds apples (about 36 medium apples)*
Lemon juice (1/4 cup bottled lemon juice to 4 cups of water) to prevent browning
Blender, food mill, or immersion blender
Mixing bowl (large)
To preserve, you will also need:
Canner or large stock pot with rack
Jar lifter or tongs
8 canning jars with lids and bands
Apples are a great source of fiber and Vitamin C. The great thing about apple sauce is that you still end up with both the fiber and the juice – the best of everything perfect about the apple.
- Peel, core, and thinly slice apples placing them in your mixing bowl. If using lemon juice, fold in each sliced apple to the lemon mixture in the mixing bowl.
- Transfer apples to stock pot with 2 cups fresh water. No need to rinse the lemon juice. Bring apples to a boil over medium- high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer; stirring occasionally, for approximately 20 minutes, until apples are tender and beginning to fall apart. Boil time depends on size of slice, variety of apple, and their maturity.
- Remove from heat and let cool enough to safely run apples through the mill, blender, or immersion blender to puree to your favorite texture.
- Enjoy fresh and warm. Store the remaining in the fridge to enjoy all week.
To preserve your harvest:
- Fill your canning pot with water and turn to high heat until water is boiling. Begin this step while apples are cooking.
- Sterilize jars using the tongs or jar lifters and placing them in the canning pot (using the rack), submerged and covered by 1” of post-boil water for 10 minutes. Remove jars but leave the water behind.
- While preparing the canning pot and jars, Reheat the pureed mixture and keep hot until pot and jars are ready.
- Fill jars using the funnel, making sure to keep rims clean. Leave ½ inch headspace in the jars. Place lids and bands on jars. Tighten so it’s just hand-tight, not super-strength tight.
- Set jars on rack in canning pot so jars are submerged by at least 1 inch of water. Add boiling water or remove water as needed. Never set jars directly on bottom of pot – direct contact with the heat source can cause jars to break and the water needs to circulate to keep safe processing temperatures.
- Once water in canning pot comes back to a boil, set timer for 20 minutes^ (adjust for altitude).
- Remove jars and set aside on a towel, with bands still on. Let the jars “ping” on their own, this usually takes just a few hours. Resist the temptation to “push the button”, doing so can create a false seal and is not safe. After 24 hours, remove the bands, wipe down jars if needed, and store your creation.
Substitute some of the apples for pears.
Add a bit of your favorite ground, dried spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice) – to taste.
Too tart? Add a little honey, agave, maple syrup or your favorite sweetener.
*If just making apple sauce for fresh eating, any amount of apples will work. Estimate that for each person or serving, you will need 2 medium apples.
For a chunkier apple sauce, use a potato smasher instead of the blenders or mill. Or puree some and smash the rest.
When canning, use only safe and up-to-date resources such as https://nchfp.uga.edu/ , https://nifa.usda.gov/blog/usdas-complete-guide-home-canning, and Ball Canning Guides (these recipes have been tested safe). Have questions? Join the Facebook Group: FaceBook.com/Canning for great and safe advice.
If this is your first time canning, expect to enjoy most of the day figuring it out. Find an upbeat playlist, make a mess, be patient, and enjoy the glory of your accomplishments. The more you practice, the faster and easier it is.
Borrow the canning supplies before making an investment in this hobby. Consider sharing supplies with friends if you only plan to preserve a few favorites once a year.
Kids Cook Tips
Young kids can help with picking apples, washing them, and even the peeling. ring of them.
Older kids can help core and slice the apples, puree the cooked apples, and fill jars – remember it’s a hot mixture that is ladled into the jars.
Making the apple sauce can easily be accomplished by older kids. Canning requires an understanding of physical safety of a canner and handling hot jars, a huge tub of boiling water, a calm demeanor, food safety, and respect for the process – oversight will be important.