Home Canned Applesauce - What apples, in what ratios, with what amazing ingredients, in what style, and what pitfalls to avoid
Home Canned Spiced Applesauce - Low Sugar, Tall Taste

Canned Cranberry Spiced Applesauce - hands down absolutely the best applesauce I have ever eaten

Canned Cranberry Spiced Applesauce - hands down absolutely the best applesauce I have ever eaten
Canned Cranberry Spiced Applesauce - hands down absolutely the best applesauce I have ever eaten

A Best Little Jam House Exclusive

This lovely pink applesauce has subtle complexity and sophistication that will be appreciated by adults, but is still enjoyable to children. I developed the recipe by happenstance. I generally make my applesauce using whatever apples are on sale. Last week the produce market had Honeycrisp, and Gala apples on special, but tart apples were over twice the price. I remembered I had some frozen cranberries in the freezer that might make up for my lack of tart apples. I decided to give it a try, and I am glad I did.  This recipe is a keeper!


A bad woman can’t make good applesauce - Ozark proverb.

The fear seemed to be that a bad woman's sauce would not be tart enough.  We need have no apprehension  here. We will achieve that elusive sweet tart balance.


For further information about making applesauce, and suggestions about how to customize your batch and avoid pitfalls click http://www.bestlittlejamhouse.com/my-blog/2016/10/home-canned-applesauce-surprising-ingredients-create-your-own-signature-blend.html

 For another spiced applesauce recipe with low sugar and tall taste click here.

If you would like to print the recipe without all the pictures please click Download Cranberry Spiced Applesauce.


First, I will be sharing just the recipe for making applesauce.  If you need information about the basic canning process please click here for Virginia Tech's excellent booklet Boiling Water Bath Canning.


Cranberry Spiced Applesauce

Golden acorn logo!!! copy

Recipe type: 




 8 pints or 4 quart jars

Prep time: 

2 hours



1/2 inch

Cook time: 

1 hours



20 minutes in pint and half pint jars, 25 for quart jars

Total time: 

3 hours plus 30 minutes



  • 12 pounds apples (half Honeycrisp, and half Gala apples)
     12 pounds apples
    12 pounds apples
  • 3 cups of cranberries (one 12-ounce bag)
  • 3 inch cinnamon sticks (2)
  • 1 cup water or apple juice (to keep apples from scorching while cooking)  
  • Zest of one lemon 
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon 


  1. Core and quarter apples. Dip apples as they are quartered into a lemon/water solution of 1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons) in 4 cups water to prevent browning. After dipping transfer apples to cooking pot. One stock pot will easily hold 12 pounds of apples  
    12 pounds apples in stock pot
    12 pounds apples in stock pot
  2. Add cranberries, cinnamon sticks, water or apple juice, and zest of one lemon (chopped finely) to cooking pot.
  3. Let fruit and berries cook for approximately 20-35 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down.
    Cooked fruit and berries
    Cooked fruit and berries
  4. Meanwhile, prepare jars in boiling water bath, and prepare lids per manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Remove cinnamon sticks before puréeing or mashing.
  6. Used food mill, potato masher (will produce chunkier sauce, but you will need to take out skins), or fruit/vegetable strainer to purée the fruit and berries together.
     Fruit/vegetable strainer puréeing the fruit and berries together
    Fruit/vegetable strainer puréeing the fruit and berries together
  7. After puréeing, return pot with sauce to the stove and simmer.
  8. Add lemon juice, salt, almond extract, half the sugar and stir well.
  9. Taste and adjust sweetness to taste. You may want to add more lemon juice at this point to adjust sweet-tart balance (no bad women here).
  10. Ladle hot applesauce into your prepared jars to 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles by sliding a small spatula or plastic knife, between jar and sauce; pressing gently on sauce to release trapped air. Repeat procedure two or three times around jar. Wipe rims, apply lids and screw on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes for both half pints and pints, 25 minutes for quarts.

I suggest you label your jam jars. One may simply write on the lid, or you may download my labels click here to Download Cranberry Spiced applesauce round label. My labels have a larger round label for the lid and a smaller oval label for the front of jar. One just needs to write in the canning date, cut out, and glue the label on the jar.


The Professor's Rating

The Professor gave it 5 stars.  "... Perfect blend of flavors... The best I ever ate... I think the sweetness is just right...Can I have some more?"  

Just FYI - The Professor likes a sweet applesauce (so you may want to adjust). This recipe has a permanent place in the pantry.


Cranberry Spiced Applesauce Demystified

Jam scientist's notebook colored

How do I know this recipe is safe? pH and Heat

pH  - To be safe from botulism bacteria growth and its food poisoning toxins, the pH of canned goods must be below 4.6 (one wants to stay below pH 4.4. to be on the safe side). Sweet eating Apples generally have a pH of about 4.0.  Cranberry juice typically has a pH between 2.3 and 2.5. We also added some lemon juice to the recipe, so the sauce should be between pH 3.0 and 3.5 - well within the safety zone.

Heat - Processing the jars in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes is enough heat to kill actively growing bacteria and prevent yeast and mold growth under normal sanitary circumstances in this thick sauce.

Why did you only use the juice of only 1/2 lemon? I thought we were supposed to use two?

It is true that one normally adds a tablespoon of lemon juice for each quart of sauce to preserve to prevent color changes. Cranberries have a high concentration of ascorbic acid like citrus fruits do, so I did not need to add any lemon juice to this recipe. I added some lemon to brighten the flavor a little; but I did not need any lemon.

Why would I want ascorbic acid in my Applesauce?

Ascorbic acid helps control enzymatic changes in the sauce. Enzymatic changes are not dangerous, but can effect color click hear for Secrets for Canning Applesauce.

Why work so hard to remove a few air bubbles?

Air left in the apple purée expands during processing and may cause the applesauce in the jar to overflow into the water bath, called siphoning. Again, this is not dangerous, but this increases the risk of a jar not sealing, so one should be aware of this issue. You can reduce the chance of siphoning by removing air bubbles, leaving ½ inch head space to make room for expansion during processing, and waiting 5 - 10 minutes with the heat off at the end of processing before removing jars from the water bath to allow pressure inside the jars to decrease.















The Jam Scientist


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