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Unsweetened Applesauce

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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!

Peel and core the apples, and cut them into chunks.

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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.

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Puree the apples in a food processor until smooth.

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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).

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Posted by on October 5, 2011.

Tags: ,

Categories: canning

24 Responses

  1. I just made applesauce the other day as well! So good! I added cinnamon and pumpkin puree to mine…delicious!

    by Jessica on Oct 5, 2011 at 11:11 am

  2. If you leave the peels on and run it through a food mill, it will be a beautiful rosy color (and you don’t need to peel them!) 🙂 Cortlands make an especially attractive applesauce when done that way!

    by Katie on Oct 5, 2011 at 11:53 am

  3. Yum! And I totally have that same apple corer/peeler (and love it). It really speeds things up with apple pies and such, doesn’t it?

    by Jenna on Oct 5, 2011 at 12:01 pm

  4. I love that Ball cookbook. I bought a copy for my mom and grandmother last year… I need to grab a copy for myself! I’m always calling my mom to look up canning tips/recipes for me!

    by Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama on Oct 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm

  5. I love homemade applesauce, but I still haven’t learned to can. It’s one of my goals though, and I hear that Ball book is awesome.

    by Tracey on Oct 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

  6. definitely want to try this – love it!

    by Jessica @ How Sweet on Oct 5, 2011 at 2:16 pm

  7. I need to look up that recipe in the Ball book. We love applesauce with a little cinnamon, but we don’t ever think to buy it OR make it.

    by Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm

  8. Looks like a wonderful batch. I need to do this too! I have a ton of apples.

    by carolinaheartstrings on Oct 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm

  9. I’m so glad you gave applesauce a try!! We’ve gone through about 15 lbs of apples in applesauce so far this fall, and we’re just getting started 🙂

    We add cinnamon and nutmeg to ours — and we don’t puree it; we prefer some apple chunks.

    by SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen on Oct 5, 2011 at 11:34 pm

  10. I love a good applesauce recipe, and I only buy unsweetened. Love this!

    by Katrina on Oct 6, 2011 at 8:17 am

  11. I’m a chunky applesauce girl too (I’m also a lazy girl who hates to clean the food processor, so that helps!).

    by Casey@Good. Food. Stories. on Oct 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm

  12. Lovely! I usually freeze my applesauce, but I might have to try canning some. Perfect for applesauce cake all year long. 🙂

    by Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on Oct 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm

  13. I am so envious of your canning skills! Love the idea of homemade apple sauce. Great gift from your mother-in-law too. I totally need to pick one of those babies up! 🙂

    by Jamie | My Baking Addiction on Oct 9, 2011 at 7:08 pm

  14. This post seems so completely unnecessary to me. If I want apple sauce, I make it fresh EVERY TIME I want it. If I make roast pork, for baby food, for a cake, for apples turnovers…. I peal, core and slice 2 apples, put in a microwave-safe bowl, add a splash of water, cover and zap on high for about 4mins, or until soft. Then, depending on the texture I want, I either mash it with a fork, for chunky, or hit it with mister buzzy (my stick blender). For sweets, i add pinch of sugar and a pinch of cinnamon, for savory, a pinch of salt and some fresh cracked black pepper. It confuses me why people would by it in a jar when it is so simple to make and SOOOOO much cheaper.

    by Hugz on Oct 23, 2011 at 3:49 am

  15. “Hugz” – I’m sorry you feel that way. As with all the canning I do, it’s about using fruits and vegetables picked at the peak of the season and preserving them without all the chemicals and preservatives you’d find in their grocery store counterparts. Also, while I can certainly pop into my grocery store in the middle of winter and pick up a few apples that were most likely trucked in from Florida, I prefer to source locally as much as possible and to preserve what I gather so that I can enjoy local fruits and vegetables all year round. Hope that helps.

    by Tracy on Oct 23, 2011 at 10:04 am

  16. Yum! We also have been making applesauce for the past couple years. “WHY would you can is actually a question I hear a lot.” Along with the reasons Tracy mentioned, we find it to be the most economical way to supplement our diet. If you buy in season and in bulk (or have a generous friend with a bumper crop), you can make large batches of food for little or no money. Also, we wind up with a better-tasting product by preserving at the peak of the season rather than buying out-of-season produce. There is little more disgusting than a mealy apple! As Tracy touched on, there important health, environmental and economic benefits that come from buying from local sources as often as possible. Finally, I must admit that there is a primal satisfaction that comes from surveying all those jars and knowing that my work is going to provide food for my family for the rest of the year. I know it sounds corny, but there you go!

    I follow the same recipe, but I use my stick blender to puree in the pot. It’s easier, less to clean, and I can leave some chunks. I jar the first half the batch as plain applesauce, and then I add pumpkin or apple pie spice blend to the rest for spiced applesauce. We love both versions!

    by Sarah on Nov 14, 2011 at 12:25 am

  17. You can also freeze this recipe in freezer-safe containers if you don’t want to can it.

    by Sarah on Nov 14, 2011 at 12:26 am

  18. Made a batch of this with about 4 lbs of McIntosh apples that I had intended for hand eating before realizing they were too soft for my taste. The biggest problem I had was that I added too much water and let the apples boil too long [apparently 7 min was too long] and it turned out a bit too smooth for my taste – almost creamy. But, for my first attempt at canning on my own, not too bad.

    by Kimberly on Nov 19, 2011 at 5:57 pm

  19. Thank you for your recipe. I am baking muffins that require unsweetened apple sauce; I was at the supermarket looking for it, didn’t have any luck, found your recipe came home and made it myself. It’s smells and tastes Amazing, I look forward to making my muffins. Thanks, I learned something new, useful and tasty.

    by Amy on May 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm

  20. How long do the jars of apple sauce keep for?

    by leighanne on Jul 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm

  21. Leighanne – The general rule for most preserves is that they will keep for at least a year in a cool, dark place. Hope that helps!

    by Tracy on Jul 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

  22. Awesome recipe! I will definitely be making this again. I was unsure how it would taste but loved it. I added 5 tablespoons of sugar to add a little of sweetness to it and was blown away.

    by Nicole Buresh on Sep 25, 2012 at 12:51 am

  23. Can you substitute fruit fresh for lemon juice?

    by Jenifer on Oct 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm

  24. Jenifer – The USDA recommends using bottled lemon juice because it has been uniformly acidified so that it has a consistent level of acid. In a recipe like this where there is no added sugar, I would definitely follow that recommendation to ensure that the resulting product is safe for preserving. Hope that helps!

    by Tracy on Oct 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm

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About Sugarcrafter

Hi there! I’m Tracy, and I live in upstate NY. My husband and I met in college and have been married since 2005. A Canning, baking, writing, photography, and even cleaning (yes, cleaning – it can be oddly relaxing), are all things that I enjoy. This blog brings all of those passions together – but […]more →