Despite my obvious love for all things pumpkin this time of year, I can’t forget another sweet star of autumn – the apple. Having never made my own applesauce before, this year it became top priority on my ever-growing list of things to preserve. I’m really not sure what I’ve been waiting for, either! It was easy, especially with the help of the nifty apple peeler my mother-in-law got me for Christmas a few years ago, although you certainly don’t need one to get the job done. I usually buy unsweetened applesauce at the store, so I was wondering if I’d be able to can my own. When I found the basic recipe for applesauce in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving though, I was happy to find that there’s no sugar required in order for the applesauce to be safe for preserving – only lemon juice. You certainly can add sugar if you like, and perhaps a dash of cinnamon as well. After how easy it was to make, I think I may just be taking another trip to the orchard!
- 6 lbs apples (about 18 apples)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
Peel and core the apples, and cut them into chunks.
In a large dutch oven, add about half as much water as there are apples. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until the apples are tender. Remove from the heat and strain.
Puree the apples in a food processor until smooth.
Return the applesauce to the dutch oven and add in the lemon juice. You may optionally add 1 and 1/2 cups sugar, but it is not needed (however, the lemon juice is needed to assure the necessary acidity of the finished product). Bring the applesauce to a boil over medium-high heat. When ready to can, prepare your supplies. Bring the temperature of the glass jars up by processing them in hot water for several minutes. Heat a few cups of water in a small saucepan for the lids. Boil a few cups of water in a small saucepan for the lids. When ready to fill the jars, maintain the applesauce at a gentle boil over low heat. Ladle the hot applesuace into the jars, leaving 1/2″ head space. Process 20 minutes. Makes about 6 eight-ounce jars (with sugar, you’ll get 7-8 eight-ounce jars).