This year’s apple crop was plentiful and as applesauce is one of my favorite things to make I couldn’t wait to get started. We love applesauce here at our house and I try to put up enough of it so we can have some most everyday throughout the year. One of the best things about putting up applesauce is that it is quick and easy to do. To get started I quarter them up and cut out any bad spots that I find as I remove the stem and cut off the blossom end. I like to keep the skins and seeds as both have nutritional benefits to them. Once the pot is full I add about three or four inches of water to cover the bottom, put on the lid and cook the apples down over a medium low heat. Be sure to stir them occasionally so they all cook down evenly and to keep any from sticking to the bottom of the pot and getting burnt.
(This site uses affiliate links) Once they are soft and easy to smash up I turn off the heat and let them cool down enough to run them thru a food mill. I started out using a hand crank model made by Back To Basics which worked well until I got a Kitchen Aid mixer with the fruit and vegetable strainer attachment. This really helped speed up the process! I also found that I could get quite a bit more sauce out of the cooked apples if I ran them thru the strainer three times. What’s left is just the skins and the seeds which my chickens are more than happy to make short work of.
Be sure to measure out how much sauce you have when you put it back into the pot if you are going to season it. As our apples are of the sweet variety I don’t add any sugar to them, just some cinnamon and allspice. I add 1/2 teaspoon plus another 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and a slightly heaping 1/4 teaspoon of allspice per quart of applesauce; this gives me a sauce that is nicely seasoned without being overpowering. You don’t want to over-season it as the flavors will intensify some over time when it is canned. I use a large whisk to stir in the seasonings to make sure they are well-distributed throughout the sauce. Then I bring the sauce back to a low boil and cover it with a lid to prevent splatters from getting all over my stove.
Have your jars and lids washed and ready to go when your sauce is heated thru. Ladle the applesauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch of head-space, wipe the rim of the jar clean, put on a hot, previously simmered lid on and screw the ring down firmly being careful not to over-tighten them. Process your applesauce in a boiling water bath canner for twenty minutes for both pints and quarts. I use a Ball Enamel 21 quart canner as it is tall enough to do quart jars. Once they are done processing remove your jars to a draft free area and let them cool.
I prefer jam to jelly as it uses more of the fruit plus I like the thicker texture. This jam is a honey lemon apple jam. First I peeled and diced 12 cups of apples. To this I added 2 cups of lemon juice ( a combination of the juice from three small lemons that I saved the zest from plus bottled juice) and put it all in a large pot with a heavy bottom to help prevent burning. Cook this down over medium-low heat and stir frequently until the apples are like a slightly chunky applesauce. Then add 2 cups of honey, 3 cups of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of butter and stir well. Bring to a rolling boil and cook this for at least five minutes but keep an eye out as it can splash you. Add one envelope of liquid pectin and boil it to activate the pectin. Continue cooking it down for a bit until it seems nice and thick and jam-like then turn off the heat and stir in the zest of the three lemons. I ended up cooking mine for about 10 minutes to make sure it would be nice and thick. Be sure to have your jars, lids and canning stuff all ready to go. This recipe made seven pints. Fill your jars, wipe the rims clean, apply the lids and screw on the bands. Process your jam in a boiling water bath canner for ten minutes.
If you are new to canning and just getting started I would like to recommend a few books that you will find very helpful. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is considered by many to be the bible of canning. One of my favorite canning reference books is Growing and Canning Your Own Food by Jackie Clay. I highly recommend this book, it is written in a very easy to understand manner and it covers all of the basics of raising and canning your own food. This book and others Jackie Clay has written can also be found at www.backwoodshome.com .
So there you have it; two of my favorite ways of using apples. They’re simple to make and easy to can.
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For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.