Canning Applesauce

I'm sure you all remember my voyage into the wilderness last week.  Well, my father in-law was sure I needed some extra convincing to go, and so he offered me apples.  I know what you're thinking, seriously, apples is all it takes to get you to take a six hour drive into the middle of nowhere?  Actually, it takes a good deal more than that, but apples were a nice bonus, especially since there were A LOT of apples.  

My children can go through five pounds of apples in about 3 days if the apples aren't kept safe, but this was more apples than even they could eat.  So, what to do with all of those apples?  Make applesauce of course!  I was out of the last batch I had canned two years ago, so I was really excited for these apples.

In case you too come upon a large quantity of apples, I thought you might like to see some pictures of how we did it.  (I made sure to get this done while my mother in-law was still here to help occupy little ones!)

Step 1: Wash the apples!  We did about six sinks full.
 Step 2: Quarter the apples.  There's no need to take the core out, the strainer will separate it.
 Step 3: Cook the apples in a little bit of water.  Once the water is boiling it won't take long.  You want the apples to be good and soft.
 Step 4: Take the apples out of the pot, and put them through the food grinder.  (Mine is an older model that I bought for $10 at a yard sale, the girl selling it didn't even know what it was!)  Enjoy the happy look on the face of the child getting to turn the grinder, but feel sorry for the child who is sad that they aren't having a turn at that exact moment.
 Step 4 (Continued): This is a better action shot.  The hot apples go into the plastic bowl on top, and you can push them in with the wooden mallet.  As you turn the handle apple sauce comes out of the sieve in the middle and down the shoot into your waiting pan.  The core, seeds, and skin come out the far end and land in the bowl you have underneath.
 Step 5: While your jars are heating heat your applesauce on the stove.  If you are going to add sweetener, or anything to stop the browning, now is the time.  I originally learned to make applesauce from my mom as a kid, but I learned to can it from my husband's aunt Judy.  She taught me our Grandma Julia's tricks that I love for sweetening and browning.  Grandma buys frozen orange juice concentrate, with no sugar added, and adds a little of that to keep the applesauce from browning!  Brilliant!!!  To sweeten it she adds a little apple juice, again with no added sugar.  For this batch my little ones thought it was plenty sweet, so we added about 1/2 of a container of orange juice concentrate for 11 quarts of applesauce.
 Step 6: Fill the jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace, place them in the canner with enough boiling water to cover them by an inch or two, and process them.  How long you process them depends on your altitutude, and the size of your jars, so you will have to look that up.  After they are finished, take them out and enjoy looking at those beautiful jars, and listening to the pop of the jars sealing!  (It's one of the happiest sounds I've ever heard!) 
You should let them sit for about 24 hours without moving them to make sure the seals don't get broken.  If any of them don't seal just put them in the refrigerator and use them within a week or so.  (I don't know if there is some "official" direction on it or not, but I have cleaned off the lids, and reprocessed applesauce that didn't seal with no negative effects that I am aware of.  Of course you should always use common sense, and not eat anything moldy, or smelly.)

bwrightbrizee  – (October 21, 2011 at 7:12 PM)  

Yummmm - Grandpa wishes the kids were here - would have saved him all that cranking when we made our applesauce!! :-)) Gotta love the squeezo-strainer!!!

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