Homemade Applesauce

finished applesauce jars

Why homemade applesauce?

This is my first real experience making homemade applesauce…and going through the entire process…. yum!  Let’s talk about why you would want to start this process in the first place.   If you haven’t done any research about the food industry, let me just shorten it down for you.

S-U-G-A-R

Sugar is relatively cheap to use and is very addictive.  For the company who is trying to make a profit, that’s great news, however, for the consumer, it is NOT.  Sugar feeds cancer and makes your body crave more sugar.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to find products without sugar in the ingredients – be careful; there are tons of different names for sugar!

Think that’s bad?  Here’s more:

Also, if there is a small enough amount of something, companies don’t have to list it as an ingredient – thanks a lot FDA!  So, knowing exactly what is in the applesauce (hello, apples!) is very appealing to me and my family.  If you’d like more information on foods and why I read the ingredients, click here.

The process of making applesauce – Part I – Preparation

  1. First, get jars – I prefer quart sized because my family of 3 loves applesauce and we go through quite a bit.
empty jars
Make sure you run the jars through the dishwasher beforehand.

2. Second, get apples and wash them.  I prefer Staymen apples, but got Golden Delicious and Jonagolds which were also good.

pretty little apples
I got seconds apples from a local orchard, TS Smiths.

3. Since you will be cooking these apples, make sure you cut them and remove any bad spots.

sliced apples
Quarter cut and core apples.

The process of making applesauce – Part II

4. Then, cook the cut apples.  This may take a long time, depending on the kinds of apples that you purchase.  Stir as needed.  Smells of homemade applesauce filling your home = bonus!

cooking apples
Add apple quarters to a large pot to cook. Add water if you want to also make apple juice.  Pick a cool day because the kitchen gets HOT.

5. Once apples have cooked and are soft, dump into a bowl to cool (if you’re making tons, you will need to refill the pot on the stove and keep cooking).  If you added water in Step 3, you will need to strain the juice out of the cooked apples now.

cooked apples
Cooked apples ready to run through the Victorian Strainer

6. Run cooked and slightly cooled apples through Victorian Strainer.  You will need something to catch the peels (we used a glass bowl inside of this steel one) and something else to catch the applesauce.

Victorian Strainer
This machine removes the peel and any part of the core that was missing in the cutting process.

The process of making applesauce – Part III – Packaging the Goodness

7. If you have help, have someone sterilizing lids while you are straining apples. Cover with water and bring to a boil on the stove.  Keep the lids in the hot water until you are ready to put on the filled jars.

lids
Sterilize lids on stove

8. Once your applesauce has no peels, fill up those jars!  Be careful not to make a mess!

yummy applesauce
Use a funnel to scoop applesauce into empty jars.

9. Now, take care to remove any residue from the very top of the jar where the lid will go.  It is super important that the lid seals in the next step, or all of your hard work is wasted when the applesauce goes bad.

wiping tops of jars
Use a wet paper towel to wipe the tops of the jars where the lid must seal.

10. Put the lids on!

Make sure you have this magnetic tool to grab the lids out of the hot water!
Make sure you have this magnetic tool to grab the lids out of the hot water!

11. Add the screw top (sorry, I forgot to snap that picture!) and tighten just with your hands.  No tools needed.

The process of making applesauce – Part IV – Preparing for Storage

12. The vibration of the water boiling can cause your jars to crack if they are sitting directly on the bottom of the pot.  They sell bottoms specifically designed to hold jars, or you can just use extra screw on tops.  Once water is boiling, time it for at least 10 minutes.  This seals the lids.

hot water bath
Put jars in pot with something on the bottom and fill 1 inch above lid with water.

13. Carefully remove jars and set on a towel with a little space in between jars.  If you are making lots, fill pot again, adding water if needed, and repeat.  Once finished, cover jars with towels to help them cool slowly.  Do not move jars for at least 24 hours!  This ensures the seal on the lids is not broken!

taking jars out of bath
Make sure you have this handy little tool to remove the jars from the hot water.  Not the best photo here!

14. Once your jars have set for 24 hours, you may move them into your cupboard or pantry.  You could even give them away.  Who wouldn’t want freshly made applesauce?!

finished jars
Yum!  This is about half of what I made.

Now that it’s finally over

I purchased 4 bags of seconds apples and was able to make 39 jars of applesauce and 3 jars of apple juice.  It takes a lot of work and is exhausting, but it is so worth it!  I would definitely recommend doing a lot of jars.  It would be too much of a pain for only a few jars.

Overall, making homemade applesauce is super tiring, but when I consider all of the benefits for my family combined with the fellowship of friends during the process, it’s a win-win.

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