My Sweet Dad and Step Mom went apple picking and brought home a large bag of juicy sweet Fuji apples. A couple of days later I saw some on sale at the store and grabbed a big bag. Then, last night I grabbed a few more that looked particularly yummy. When put them in the fridge I realized no one has been eating any of these apples we keep buying. The entire lower drawer of the fridge was full of apples. -.-
What better time to try out my first “Just Like Grandma” skill! I already know the basics of what I need to do to reduce my surplus of apples down into a simmering pan of gloop. The problem is I don’t have any canning equipment but I do have several large pots and a very vague memory of what the set up looked like when Grandma was canning. Just to be on the safe side I did look up how to actually accomplish the canning aspect of this experiment and found that even though it is a little trickier (and slightly dangerous) you can in fact can with just a few pots.
It took me about 2 hours from start to finish and in the end I enjoyed a super delicious bowl of hot applesauce fresh out of the pot. Mmmmmm!!! Sweet Dad said it was the best he had every tasted!! I would call this experiment a success.
Here is my step by step guide on how to make your own applesauce. Enjoy!
1. As I mentioned, I had a ton of Fuji apples on hand so that is what I used but when you go out to pick up your apples from the store or local grower there are a few things to keep in mind.
- First, the sweeter the apples are naturally the less sugar you will need to add when you cook them.
- Secondly, the more variety of sweet apples that you mix together the more depth of flavor your applesauce will have in the end. The sight I went to suggested Red Delicious, Pink Lady, Fuji, Yellow Delicious, and Gala apples and to stay away from the sour green ones. Even with just using Fuji apples my sauce still turned out pretty awesome.
- Thirdly, as far as the amount of apples you need to buy goes…..I’m not really sure >.< I used I think 12 good-sized apples and got 2 quarts of applesauce out of it. If you are wanting a bunch of applesauce at once to can it’s gonna take a whole lot of apples!!
2. I don’t have a strainer or food mill which would have allowed me to cook the apples with the peels and seeds intact and then later remove them. So, I peeled, sliced and cored all the apples. It didn’t take too long for me to get about a dozen apples prepared. Actually now that I am finished with the whole project I think it would have been a bigger hassle if I had used a food mill instead because then there would have been a bigger mess to clean up not to mention having to handle boiling hot apple slices!
3. I got out a pasta pot and put about one inch of filtered water into the bottom of it along with all my apple slices and set the temp to ”high”. The apples contain a lot of water so not much is needed to get them started. As they heat up you will notice the pot begin to fill with all their yummy juices! This picture was after about a good 10 minutes of boiling and you can already see the liquid is now surrounding the apples. You boil like this untill all the apples are nice and soft. Your house is going to smell amazing!! I boiled mine for about 30ish minutes.
4. This is where I think I saved myself a lot of work! Since everything is already peeled and de-seeded I was able to just leave everything in the pot and take a wire whisk to it. It was amazing how quickly the apples dissolved into sauce. I added a unmassured amount of cinnamon (it looked like a lot but I just kept adding and stirring until it was just right) and a couple of tablespoons of sugar that it didn’t really need. And TA-DAH!!! You are the proud new owner of Applesauce! That’s it! I took some out right into a bowl and it was perfectly amazing. I have never eating hot applesauce before but I definitely will again in the future!!
Here’s the scary part – Canning!
1. After my applesauce was all done I sat it on a back burner and turned it on med-low. It is very important to keep your sauce hot until you can it. I got out the families GIANT Spaghetti pot and filled it with tap water and gently placed my glass jars inside. The jars need to be fully submerged and heated to boiling point for at least 20 minutes. While that was heating up, I took the lids and rings and put them in a smaller pot that happened to have a strainer thingy in it (boy did I wish the huge pot had one of those when I needed to get the boiling hot jars out of it!). I set those to med-high and kept them just under boiling for just as long as the jars.
*!*~WARING~*!* The next step was really dumb on my part and potentially dangerous!! It was the only time I wished I had the right tool for the job. If you decide to copy my bad example please do so at your own risk!!
2. Once the jars and lids were all sterilized I used some kitchen tongs and very gently turn, lift and empty my first jar. I was so nervous boiling water would splash on me! I sent my E.v.e. out into the other room entirely to make sure there was no chance she could bump me or get splashed >.< After pouring the water out of the jar I labeled the hot applesauce into it. Be sure to leave about an inch or so of room at the top of the jar. You don’t want it filled to the brim. (This picture was taken as I removed my second jar from the water. I was feeling a little braver but aiming a cellphone camera and trying to grip a slippery glass jar of boiling water = STUPID!!)
3. Once your jar is full wipe off any sauce that may have gotten on the rim and outside of the jar. Use tongs to lift your topper out of its hot water bath and place it on your jar. Do the same with the screw top lid thingy and using a pot holder to grip the jar twist the lid on tight. Set the jars on your kitchen counter and leave them alone over night to cool. Don’t mess with them or poke at them!
4. By morning they should be cooled off so check the tops and make sure they don’t do that poppy thing like a jar of opened pickles. If the lid is tight then you did it just right and now have a jar of lovely applesauce that, if stored in a cool dark place, will last you about 2 years. If you choose to freeze your jar of applesauce it will last forever! However, if you poke the top of your jar and the lid “pops” the seal did not take and you must now store it in the fridge. Be sure enjoy your unsealed applesauce within the next two weeks.