It’s November… applesauce time. Evie asked me how I make my applesauce. It’s sort of a moving target, but here is this year’s version.
I like to use a combination of apples. This year, Fujis and Braeburns were in season, so I used a box of each. (Two 20 lb boxes yielded 2 deep dish pies, 6 small tarts and 10 quarts of apple sauce.)
Start by washing your apples. Put your jars in the dishwasher, or wash them in hot, soapy water and keep them in hot water in the sink. I have tried so many nifty apple peeler-corer-slicers and am always disappointed. This year I peeled them by hand and then let the kids use the apple cutter to core them.
I keep the slices in water until I have a bowlful just so they don’t turn brown. Sprinkling them with FruitFresh will do the same thing for a higher price. When you have one big bowlful, add 1 inch of water to your pot and add the apples. Then turn on high and cover. Keep an eye on it and stir it frequently so it doesn’t burn. Then you can start on the second pot of apples.
Once they’re boiling, they will cook down fairly quickly. Keep stirring, uncovered now, and keep an eye on them. When I can mush them with the back of a spoon, I put them through my food mill (seen below).
Before I start putting them through the food mill, I boil my (never before used) lids and (previously used many time) bands in boiling water. They’re in the smaller pot in the back. Also, notice by wide-mouthed funnel (red, to the right). This has become my favorite canning tool, the one I would replace immediately if it disappeared. It allows me to fill my jars without burning my hands or making a big mess. Love it.
Once I have a whole pot of mushed apples, I pull my hot jars out of the dishwasher to fill them. I leave a centimeter of room, put on the lid and tighten it just till it’s fast. Then I invert the jar. Please don’t take my word for your food’s safety: follow the Ball manual or the guidelines in Putting Food By. But I have only ever had one bad batch, and I know it was because I didn’t keep the apples boiling while I waited to fill my jars. And I knew it right away because the lids popped off. No one died, but botulism is a serious disease, so don’t take chances.
After 5 minutes (or when I remember) I turn my jars right side up. Usually the lids “pop” down right away, much quicker than my jam does. I leave them on the counter for a day (or until I’m tired of looking at them). And then I try to keep my kids from eating all my applesauce before I’ve actually put them away.