Pomegranate Jelly with Blended Habanero Chili - Hot and Sweet (It's Addicting)
Canned Cranberry Spiced Applesauce - hands down absolutely the best applesauce I have ever eaten

Home Canned Applesauce - What apples, in what ratios, with what amazing ingredients, in what style, and what pitfalls to avoid

 

Home Canned Applesauce - What apples. in what ratios, with what amazing ingredients, in what style, and what pitfalls to avoid.
Home Canned Applesauce - What apples. in what ratios, with what amazing ingredients, in what style, and what pitfalls to avoid.

Home Canning Applesauce Primer- use surprising ingredients to create your own signature blend

Making your own home canned applesauce is fun and easy.  Creating your own signature blend is simple by using unexpected ingredients and regional apple varieties. I'll help get you started. Do you want to make tart, sweet, sugarless, low sugar, or gourmet applesauce? Customize your batch to make it your own!

 

What Kind of applesauce do you want to make? It all starts with ratios.

Tart - Uses 75-100% tart apples and less than 25% sweet, and it is best to mix tart varies for a more complex flavor and better texture.

Standard -The basic mix for the standard applesauce is half tart and half sweet apples. This will give a nice balance between acid and sweet.

Sweet - Mix 25-50% tart and 50 - 75% sweet apples, or just use more sugar than the basic recipe.

Sugarless or Low Sugar - Use up to 3/4 sweet apples and 1/4 tart apples. Commercially, sugarless applesauce is often sweetened with concentrated apple juice, or concentrated white grape juice.

 

What kind of apples should I look for at the fruit stand?

First you don't need first quality; I basically buy what is on sale as long as they are firm. But some apples are extra special. Pink Lady and Ida Red are famous for making delicious pink apple sauce, but any apple with a red skin can be cooked with the skin on to make a pink apple sauce. I have named a couple of special heritage apples below for California and New England. There may be other little known, but excellent heritage varieties near you or for your garden.

There are hundreds of varieties of apples, but I am recommending a few below to give you a good starting point. For more information you might like to visit The Apple Works "Pick the Perfect Apple" Index.

Tart Apples Varieties:

  • Cortland (tart and tangy, very juicy)
  • Granny Smith is the standard (very tart)
  • Gravenstein (a tart heritage apple, regional to California, and available only in season July-August)
  • Ida Red (tangy and juicy)
  • Jonathan (tart, all purpose apple, crisp and juicy)
  • Pink Lady (zesty tart/sweet)
  • Stayman Winesap (tart, crisp and juicy with wine-like flavor that delivers great complexity)
  • Baldwin (tart heritage apple, regional to New England, and New York)

Stand Alone Varieties (good balanced of sweet-tart flavor):

  • McIntosh (use in both sweet and savory preparations)
  • Pink Lady (zesty tart/sweet)
  • Jonagold (sweet apple with just enough acidity)
  • Gravenstein (a tart heritage apple, regional to California, and available only in season July-August)
  • Baldwin (tart heritage apple, regional to New England, and New York)

Sweet Varieties :

  • Braeburn (Richly sweet/tart, very crisp and juicy)
  • Gala (sweet, yet with a lively kick, crisp firm and juicy)
  • Golden [Yellow] Delicious (sweet and versatile).
  • Honeycrisp (explosively crisp, sweet and juicy)
  • Jonagold (sweet apple with just enough acidity to appeal to a wide audience)

 

Look like a veteran applesauce maker by avoiding these rookie mistakes:

About Spices

I have found that spices in applesauce seem to intensify over time. My suggestion is that "less is more" when it comes to spice. Also consider using whole rather than ground spices, and remove the whole spices after cooking. To ease the removal of whole spices, try using a spice bag (bag made by placing spices into a muslin square and tying with cooking string).

About Sweetness

Applesauce will seem sweeter when tasted warm from the preserving kettle, and taste less sweet after the sugars in the jar equilibrate (in a few weeks).

About Additional Liquid

Different apples at different maturities can vary greatly in juiciness. If you are working with a juicy apple variety, take care not to add too much additional juices or brandy. We do not want the applesauce to become soupy. If your applesauce is too runny, just cook for a few more minutes.

About Peeling

It is best not to peel the apples; cooking the fruit with the skin on boosts flavor and adds color to the sauce. Peels, especially tart apple peels, contain pectin that is released during cooking and produces a thicker, smoother textured applesauce.

One Flavoring to Avoid

One flavoring to avoid in canned applesauce is butter. Butter can go rancid during long storage.

Browning

The top of the applesauce in a jar can gradually turn brown if the sauce was not heated enough to stop all enzymatic reactions and if there was enough oxygen in the head space to react with those enzymes. The same problem can occur if air bubbles were not removed after filling the jar. This is not dangerous, but it is unappealing and something to be aware of. To control browning be sure to heat your purée to a simmer and keep it simmering during filling (this helps remove air). Also, ascorbic acid (in lemon juice) reduces browning, so don't omit it. Our basic recipe includes a tablespoon of lemon juice for each quart of sauce to preserve the apples’ color and to increase acidity.

Siphoning

Air left in the apple purée expands during processing and may cause the applesauce in the jar to overflow into the water bath. Again, this is not dangerous, but this increases the risk of a jar not sealing, so one should also be aware of this issue. You can reduce the chance of siphoning by using a plastic knife, or small spatula, to remove air bubbles from the jar before applying the lid. Take care to leave ½ inch head space to make room for expansion during processing. It is also not unusual for applesauce to siphon as the jars are removed from the water bath. To avoid this, one may turn off the heat and wait 5 - 10 minutes at the end of processing before removing jars from the water bath; this gives time for the temperature and pressure in the jar to equalize.

 

French, Country, or Gourmet Style Applesauce

Dark Sauces

Some might prefer a darker, thicker, somewhat caramelized sauce (half way to apple butter). Cook sauce longer after puréeing, and before adding sugar or spices. Cook on lowest heat, stirring all the way to the bottom of the pan, until you have a thick, spreadable mixture (this can take more than an hour).

Chunkier Sauce

One can use a food mill, potato masher or even just a large wooden spoon to smash apples (will produce chunkier sauce but you will need to take out skins), or mechanical fruit/vegetable strainer to mash or purée the fruit. For a medium chunky applesauce, mash or smash half the apples and purée the rest.

Gourmet Sauce

Gourmet style may use hard to find heritage, or regional specialty verities, or use secret varietal proportions, and/or special ingredients such as French apple brandy.

 

Instructions for water bath canning:

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

 

If you would like to print this basic recipe without all the pictures please click here to Download Basic Recipe for homemade canned applesauce

 

Basic Recipe for homemade canned applesauce adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving:

One stock pot will easily hold 12 pounds of apples that will make 8 pint jars of applesauce or 4 quart jars. You can cut that amount in half if you would prefer a smaller batch.

  • 12 pounds apples (basic mix for the standard applesauce is half tart and half sweet apple varieties)
  • Not less than 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) lemon juice (acid is needed to control enzymatic browning do NOT reduce).
  • 1 cup water or apple juice (to keep apples from scorching while cooking)  
    Apple juice added to keep apples from scorching while cooking
    Apple juice added to keep apples from scorching while cooking
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3 cups sugar (optional)

 

 

Optional Flavoring Possibilities for 12 lbs apples:

  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract — extract was suggested by Eldress Bertha Lindsay, one of the last surviving residents at Canterbury Shaker Village– stir into finished sauce
  • 3 inch cinnamon sticks (2) — cook with apples and remove prior to puréeing
  • 1-2 teaspoon ground cinnamon – stir into finished sauce
  • 3 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen) – cook and purée with apples
  • 12 whole cloves – cook with apples and remove prior to puréeing
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves —  stir into finished sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg –  stir into finished sauce
  • 3 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced – cook with apples and remove prior to puréeing
  • 3 teaspoons lemon zest – cook and purée with apples
  • 2 cups Red Hot candy – cook and purée with apples
  • 4 pieces star anise (whole) – for licorice flavor, cook with apples and remove prior to puréeing
  • 1 large can concentrated frozen apple juice — to reduce or eliminate refined sugar, stir into finished sauce before adding sugar
  • 1 large can concentrated frozen white grape juice — to reduce or eliminate refined sugar, stir into finished sauce before adding sugar
  • 1 small can frozen orange juice — to increase tang, stir into finished sauce
  • 1 cup cranberry juice— to increase tang and add color, stir into finished sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups Calvados apple brandy - (for adult applesauce) – stir into finished sauce

Many flavorings on this list came from CK Cooks: Homemade Applesauce post of Cook's Illustrated recipe.

Instructions and Method of Processing - easy to do:

  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 (add whole spices now if using).
    Dip apples into a lemon/water solution of 1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons) in 4 cups water to prevent browning.
    Dip apples into a lemon/water solution of 1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons) in 4 cups water to prevent browning.
  2. Let fruit cook with 1 cup water, or apple juice (to keep apples from scorching), for approximately 20-35 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down.
  3. Used food mill, potato masher (will produce chunkier sauce but you will need to take out skins), or fruit/vegetable strainer to mash or purée the fruit (remove any whole spices now before Puréeing or mashing).
    KitchenAid fruit/vegetable strainer
    KitchenAid™ fruit/vegetable strainer

4.  Bring puréed or mashed sauce to a simmer.

5.  Add lemon juice (to prevent enzymatic browning).

6.  Add salt, ground spices and sugar now if using.

7.  Taste and adjust spices and sweetness. You may want to add more lemon juice at this point to adjust sweet-tart balance.

8 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.

9.  Canned applesauce will last at least 1 year with high quality.

 

 For my own custom recipe using these principles click Canned Cranberry Spiced Applesauce - hands down absolutely the best applesauce I have ever eaten.

or

click Home Canned Spiced Applesauce - Low Sugar, Tall Taste

 

Disclosure:

I received no compensation for books or appliances mentioned or shown in this blog.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Jam Scientist

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.