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  • Writer's pictureMichaela A de Guire

Simply Applesauce

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

My family loves apple sauce, well not the store bought kind, but rather homemade. The texture is boring and it’s kind of normal when you purchase applesauce from the store. I tried my hand at homemade applesauce last year and kept messing around in the kitchen until I found one I liked and there are never any leftovers, no matter what. Now, applesauce is on the household's menu frequently in the autumn and winter months.

apples
A bushel of apples ready for applesauce

I personally love how the honey crisp apples make the apple sauce, but you can use any kind of apple really. I have used Macintosh, Gala, Braeburn, Cortland, etc. I have also learned that the maple syrup helps bring out the natural sweetness apples have without overpowering the apple flavor that sugar typically comes with. However, if you like the deep brown color you can swap the maple syrup with brown sugar to get a deep golden brown applesauce, but I warn you the flavor will be altered.


When I made applesauce for the very first time I was following a recipe that told me to run the apple sauce through a food processor. I was lazy that evening when making it and chose not to dig out the big bulky machine and instead opted for the hand potato masher. Best lazy decision ever! On Sunday morning when everyone was eating the apple sauce all they talked about was how they loved the chunky texture and how they don’t like apple sauce because it is so smooth and reminds them of baby food, (newsflash kids, applesauce was intended for baby’s). Now it’s the only way I make applesauce.

Chopping apples
Chopping apples for applesauce

Want to give my version of applesauce a try? Here is what I do!


Ingredients


2.5 lbs. apples (I like to use honey crisp)


½ cup maple syrup (if you want it more sweet add another ¼ cup)


1 Tablespoon cinnamon


½ cup apple juice or water


Directions


Peel and chop or slice the apples, the size does not matter so much as long as they are all approximately equal, such as all 1”x1” pieces. Place apples into a large dutch oven. Add maple syrup, cinnamon and apple juice. Mix well. Heat over a medium-high burner till the apples are soft and mushy. Approximately 25-30 mins.


Once the apples have reached the mushy consistency, remove from heat. Using a hand held potato masher, mash the apples until you get most of the chunks smashed. If you prefer the smoother consistency you can run the apples through a food processor instead of hand smashing.


Serve hot. Can be made a day in advance, simple reheat before serving. If you are looking to preserve this applesauce long term simply add a tablespoon of lemon juice to help keep the color and process as follows.

Smashed applesauce
Applesauce after hand mashing

Long Term Preserving


Long term preserving is a great idea if you have a lot of apples and want to preserve some for the winter. It is also a great idea if you find yourself repeatedly making applesauce throughout the autumn and winter months (as I do). It is rather straightforward and simple to do too.


Tools


Water bath canner with canning rack

Large saucepan

6-8 pint size canning jars

6-8 self sealing lids and bands

Paper towels

Ladle

Funnel

Jar lifter

Hot pads

Timer


Directions


While your apples are cooking you’ll want to prepare your canning gear. Wash your jars, lids, bands and canning tools in warm, soapy water. Sanitation is key when canning. Rinse well, and set everything aside to air dry.


Place the jar rack into the water bath canner, fill the canner about ½ full with water and bring to a simmer (180˚F) and keep hot while you work. Fill the large saucepan with water to about ½ full, heat to a simmer. Place jars upside down in saucepan and lids. This will ensure everything is sanitary.


Once everything is hot and ready, remove a hot jar using a hot pad from the saucepan, place a funnel over the jar and ladle hot applesauce into the jar leaving a ½” headspace. Remove the funnel and run a clean dry paper town around the rim to ensure there are no spills. Place a hot lid on the jar and adjust the ring to ensure it is tight. Using the jar lifter, place the jar into the hot water bath. Repeat until you are out of apple sauce.

Jar of applesauce
Long-term Preserving applesauce

Adjust the water level so it covers the jars with 2” of water, bring the canner to a boil, and process for 20 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner, and let cool at room temperature. Once cool, test the seals by pushing down on the center of the lid, you can remove the rings at this point. Label and date each jar. Store in a cool dark place for 12-18 months.


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