Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Homemade Canned Applesauce
This post was originally published last fall. But here I am again, canning apples and realizing how thankful I am for such a healthy, frugal part of my kitchen. I hope you enjoy...
Picking apples is one of my favorite fall memories and I'm amazed at how easy they are to can. My mom was always canning as I was growing up and encouraging me to get involved. But I was young and too busy. However as I've gown, I've gotten more and more excited about learning new things in the kitchen, learning new ways to improve on the old ways of getting by, and that has extended into canning. Now that I've done it a few times on my own, I'm beginning to feel better and better about my capabilities. As I canned applesauce these past couple of weeks, I started considering how much money I've been able to save with 2 children in the house and how nutritious this applesauce really is. So what I've learned from my mother, I pass on to you. And may you build sweet memories with these tips as well.
Gather your tools:
6-8 apples per batch
1/2 c. apple cider (you may substitute water seasoned with cinnamon and sugar)
measuring cup for scooping into jars
peeling tools (I used my Pampered Chef Apple Peeler Corer Slicer)
canning jars, flats, and rings
Start by peeling, coring and possibly slicing your apples. Although the slicing is not entirely necessary, it will help them cook down faster, thus saving you some time. If you are unable to get all the peel, don't worry. This can be solved by pushing your applesauce through a sieve at the end, or small bits can be left in as they will not interfere with the taste. I used my Pampered Chef Apple Peeler Corer Slicer. It made my job of dealing with these apples so much easier. I was able to work a lot quicker and get it on the stove while the kids were napping.
Place 6-8 apples in a large pot and add 1/2 cup of apple cider and allow to cook down. If you have a HOT pot and burner this will take approximately 45 min. If this is your first batch of the day, it will take closer to 1 hr.
As your apples cook down, continue to taste them and season as desired. Add more sugar, cider or cinnamon. Because of the cider that we chose, I didn't have to add anything, but you may season to your taste. The apples will be ready when they have cooked down enough to mash them.
You can blend your applesauce in several ways depending on the type of texture you prefer. I chose to simply mash mine with a potato masher. Other ways of blending your applesauce include: an immersible blender, a traditional blender, or pushing it through a sieve. Each level of blending will provide you with a smoother texture and the sieve will remove smaller bits of peeling.
As your apples are cooking, you can begin to prepare your jars. I chose pint jars although if you have several small children, you may choose quart jars as applesauce may be eaten in larger batches Fill your sink with hot water, filling each jar as well and sitting them in the hot water bath. Toss the jar flats as well, but the rings do not need to be heated. Jars and flats will need to sit in this hot water bath for at least 10 minutes.
When your apples are ready to be poured into jars, a few tools will make this process easier. Gather a funnel, measuring cup to scoop the sauce, and a clean kitchen towel. Keep your jars, flats, and rings handy as well. Place the funnel on top of the jar and funnel in the sauce dipping with the measuring cup. Push the sauce down into the jar to make sure you get a full jar.
Leave approximately 1 inch of space at the top of the jar. I measure this by where the rings start at the top of the jar. Wipe the top of the jar with your dish towel, removing bits of sauce and water from the sink. Place the flat on the jar and tighten down the ring. Be careful not to over tighten the ring or tighten it down after the jar has sealed. This may break your seal.
After filling the jar, place it back into the hot water bath to seal. You will hear a high pitched "ping" as each jar seals. You can test your jars later by pushing down in the center of the flat. If the flat stays down, it is sealed. If it pops back up the jar didn't seal and you must refrigerate and use that jar first.
Finally, sit your jars out on the counter for all to admire and your husband to ooh and aahh over how you've slaved all day. Applesauce should keep for quite some time in your pantry.
This specific batch came out very light in color. I attributed that to the fact that I got the apples cooking so quickly on the stove. However, as you're peeling apples, they will often brown when exposed to the air. Most homemade applesauce comes out darker in color and you will find that often recipes tell you to cook your apples till they are dark. This is usually my experience, but this batch just came out lighter. Just make sure the apples are thoroughly cooked before canning.
For more Works for Me ideas, check out We Are THAT Family.
This post is also linked to Fall Festival on Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.