Apples Feed

The flavor of freshly baked gingerbread in a jar - Easy Apple Gingerbread Spice Jelly

Gingerbread Spice Jelly made with rich spices and molasses - the flavor of freshly baked gingerbread.
Gingerbread Spice Jelly made with rich spices and molasses - the flavor of freshly baked gingerbread.

It is easy to make, can be done in less than an hour, and has the flavor of freshly baked gingerbread! This recipe turned out sooo good I thought twice about releasing it on the internet. Maybe I should keep this recipe for myself. In the end I decided to share. I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as my family does.

Gingerbread is a wonderful seasonal treat; even Starbucks releases a limited edition Gingerbread Latte.  Most gingerbread flavored products are, like gingerbread, delicious.  But some are.... well...sad. 

I ran into a jelly made with gingerbread flavored tisane. It sounded intriguing, but I was a little shocked by the thought of making a jelly with just sugared and flavored water. I thought I could do better. After all, the ingredients and spices in gingerbread are no secret, and using the full gallery of gingerbread spices and molasses in an apple jelly foundation should give a nice rich taste. I thought the only trick would be getting the spice amounts correct.

There was another problem though. I also needed to tackle how to use apples juice as the fruit base. Buying apple juice by the jug is notoriously difficult to work with because pectin destroying enzymes are added during the juice manufacturing process, and those enzymes would also inactivate the boxed pectin I would add to make the jelly. I needed this process to be easy enough for beginners. Extracting clear juice from fresh apples is difficult. Unprocessed apple juice is not available in many areas, so that wouldn't work. I wondered if using apple juice from frozen concentrate might work.  I was absolutely thrilled to find that juice made from frozen concentrate jells easily!!! After some experimentation I believe I got this new recipe spot-on. It is easy to make, can be done in less than an hour, and has the full fledged flavor of gingerbread!

First, I will be sharing just the recipe for making the jelly.  If you need information about the basic canning process please click here for Canning Instructions from Virginia Tech.

If you would like to print this recipe without all the pictures please click Download Apple Gingerbread Spice Jelly Recipe

 

Golden acorn logo TM 

Apple Gingerbread Spice Jelly

 Author: A Best Little Jam House Exclusive

Recipe type:

Jelly

 

Serves:

10, 8-oz jars or half- pints

Prep time: 

10 minutes

 

Headspace:

1/4 inch

Cook time: 

20 minutes

 

Processing:

10 minutes

Total time: 

40 minutes

     

 

 

made with rich spices and molasses

 

Ingredients:

16 ounce frozen concentrated apple juice (the type that calls for addition of 3 cans water)

1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 Tablespoons molasses (unsulfured)  

2 Tablespoons lemon juice (1 small lemon)

 2 packages (1 3/4 ounces each pack) fruit pectin

8 cups sugar 

 

Instructions:

  1. Sterilize jars and prepare lids per manufacture's instruction.
  2. Add apple juice and 2 1/2 cans (not 3 cans) water into a wide-bottomed pan, or a preserving kettle. Add spices, molasses, lemon juice, and dry pectin. Stir frequently while bring contents to a boil.
  3. Add sugar all at once and stir well.
    Add sugar all at once
    Add sugar all at once
    Bring contents to a full rolling boil.
    Boil for one minute
    Boil for one minute
    Boil for one minute and check the set. When jelly mixture sheets from a spoon. Remove from heat; skim off foam after cooling one minute.
  4. Ladle hot jelly mixture immediately into hot,
    1/4 inch headspace
    ¼ inch headspace
    sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; add two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
  5. Jelly will last at least one year.

Note: Processing time given is for 1000 foot elevation and below. If you are working at a higher elevation click here for information about needed time adjustments.

I suggest you label your jam jars. One may simply write on the lid, or you may download my personal Christmas labels by clicking Download Gingerbread Spice Jelly Christmas Label. My labels have a larger label for the lid and a smaller label for the front of jar. One just needs to write in the canning date, cut out, and glue the label on the jar.

 

gingerbread Spice Jelly Label

 

The Professor's Rating

The Professor gave it 5 stars. " This makes my mouth happy.... This is good! We could sell this!... Are you sure you want to put this recipe on the web? I don't know if I remember what gingerbread tastes like... This is as good as the blueberry grape jelly" (one of his favorites).

 

Gingerbread spice jelly on hot biscuits
Gingerbread spice jelly on hot biscuits

 

Apple Gingerbread Spice Jelly Demystified

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). The pH of apple juice ranges from 3.35 to 4.0. We also added Lime juice with pH of 2.0 - 2.35. Testing the pH of this jelly it was pH 3.1 - well within the safety zone. However, low pH does not affect yeasts and molds.

Heat - Processing the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes is enough heat to kill actively growing bacteria and prevent yeast and mold growth under normal sanitary circumstances. This is how we control the yeasts and molds that were not affected by the lower pH.

Why did the recipe call for frozen apple juice?

Enzymes -When consumers buy apple juice in a jug they do not want the juice to turn into apple jelly in the container; they want a nice clear, thin juice instead of a viscous, cloudy liquid. To accomplish this one of the things manufacturers do is add enzymes that destroy the pectin. Most enzymes can be inactivated by heat. Therefore, we used concentrated apple juice that was heated in order to evaporate water, and thus the pectin destroying enzymes were inactivated by the heating process. If you live in an area where truly fresh pressed apple juice (that has had no enzymes added) is available one could use 7 cups of fresh pressed cider instead if you prefer.

 

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The Jam Scientist

Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve - Just in time for the holidays

Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve - Just in time for the holidays
Tart Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve - Just in time for the holidays

But wait... What is a conserve?

The French would call it a jam with nuts.  However we are speaking English, and the English call jam with nuts a "conserve". It is traditionally made in the fall or winter, so it may contain some tried fruit too.  Our tart little conserve would work well as a condiment for meat or cheese; it could also be an alternative to cranberry sauce, (think Thanksgiving) or work as jelly (good as a topping for muffins).

First, I will be sharing just the recipe for making jam.  If you need information about the basic canning process please click here for Canning Instructions from Virginia Tech.

If you would like to print this recipe without all the pictures please click   Download Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry Conserve

 

Golden acorn logo!!! copy

 

Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve

Author: Adapted from Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry Conserve Recipe from Little Jars, Big Flavors by Southern Living

Recipe type:

Conserve (jam with nuts)

 

Serves:

6, 8-oz jars or half- pints

Prep time: 

1 hour

 

Headspace:

1/4 inch

Cook time: 

1 hour

 

Processing:

5 minutes

Total time: 

2 hours

     

Ingredients:

3 cups apple juice (fresh pressed is best) 

3 cups cored and finely chopped Honeycrisp apples (unpeeled, about 3 large apples)

1/2 cup (lightly pressed) dried cranberries

1/2 cup (lightly pressed) dried cherries (tart)

2 sticks cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Chop pecans
Chop pecans

2 packages (1 3/4 ounces each pack) fruit pectin (If you live in an area where truly fresh pressed apple juice is available, and are using that type, just use one box of pectin).

5 cups sugar                                   

Mix pectin with sugar and add sugar and pectin all at once
Mix pectin with sugar and add sugar and pectin all at once
Core and chop apples
Core and chop apples

 

Instructions:

  1. Sterilize jars and prepare lids per manufacture's instruction. 
    Ingredients ready to cook
    Ingredients ready to cook
  2. Measure apple juice and add to kettle. Add chopped apple, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and cinnamon sticks. Stirring constantly bring to a full rolling boil.
  3. Mix pectin with sugar. Add sugar and pectin all at once and stir well. Add nuts. Return mixture to a boil. Boil for one minute and check the set. (Do not skip this checking step - you may need to boil a second minute). When jelly mixture sheets from a spoon. Remove from heat; remove cinnamon sticks, skim off foam after cooling five minutes (cooling time prevents the berries from floating in the jar).
  4. Full boil - just smell the apples cooking
    Full boil - just smell the apples cooking
    4.  Ladle hot conserve mixture immediately into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; add two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner for 5 minutes.
    Into the water bath for 5 minuts
    Into the water bath for 5 minutes

Note: Processing time given is for 1000 foot elevation and below. If you are working at a higher elevation click here for information about needed time adjustments.

Jam will last at least one year at peak quality.

I suggest you label your jam jars. One may simply write on the lid, or you may download my personal labels by clicking Download Honeycrisp Apple Conserve 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. If the jam will be used as Christmas gifts, The Graphics Fairy has some nice ideas for holiday labels  http://thegraphicsfairy.com/homemade-gifts-jelly-holiday-labels-reader-feature/.

Hors d'oeuvres of Canadian bacon, our conserve, and feta cheese on top of crackers
Hors d'oeuvres of Canadian bacon, our conserve, and feta cheese on top of crackers

The Professor's Rating

The Professor gave it 3 stars. It has a nice tart flavor that could take the place of cranberry sauce. Wonderful hors d'oeuvres (pictured above). FYI, The Professor is more of a fan of sweets rather than tart/sweet.

 

 Honeycrisp Apple Cranberry/Cherry Conserve Demystified

 

Jam scientist's notebook coloredHow 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). The pH of apple juice ranges from 3.35 to 4.0. The pH of dried cranberries has a pH of 2.8-3.0. The pH of sweet cherries is 3.8-4, but I used tart cherries, that should be on the low end, or a little lower. The end product should be between 2.8 and 3.4 - well within the safety zone. Low pH does not affect yeasts and molds.

Heat - Processing the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes is enough heat to kill actively growing bacteria and prevent yeast and mold growth under normal sanitary circumstances. This is how we control the yeasts and molds that were not affected by the low pH.

 

Why did I mix the pectin with the sugar? or Why apple juice from store is hard to set into apple jelly:

Enzymes -When consumers buy apple juice they do not want the juice to turn into apple jelly in the container; they want a nice clear, thin juice instead of a viscous, cloudy liquid. To  accomplish this one of the things manufacturers do is add enzymes that destroy the pectin. Most enzymes can be inactivated by heat. Therefore, we attempted to inactivate the pectin destroying enzymes by bring our mixture to a boil before adding our boxed pectin, and we added two boxes of pectin to be on the safe side. If you live in an area where truly fresh pressed apple juice is available, and are using that type, just use one box of pectin because pectin destroying enzymes were not added to your juice.

pH and Gelling

pH is an important factor in the gelling of pectin. I had difficulty getting the original conserve recipe to gel.  I checked the pH of the conserve and found it to be 2.7. On the edge of being too low to gel. A pH range of 2.8 to 3.3 is needed to set the gel depending on the type of pectin. The most common cause of gel failure is not enough acid, but it is important to remember that too much acid also causes gel failure. The original recipe called for the addition of lemon juice, I have removed the lemon juice in the current recipe to moderate the pH. Cranberries are similar to citrus fruits in their tartness due to the natural fruit acids they contain, so we have enough acid from the cranberries without the addition of lemon juice.

Conditions for Gelling

pH of mixture

3.6 – no gel (pH too high)

3.4 – weak gel

3.2 - good gel

3.0 – good firm gel

2.8 - good gel

2.6 – weak gel –syneresis (liquid separated from the gel) may occur

2.4 – no gel (pH too low)

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The Jam Scientist

Home Canned Spiced Applesauce - Low Sugar, Tall Taste

Home Canned Spiced Applesauce - Low Sugar, Tall Taste
Home Canned Spiced Applesauce - Low Sugar, Tall Taste

A Best Little Jam House Exclusive

My go-to applesauce, sweetened with concentrated apple juice and less sugar. I generally make my applesauce using whatever apples are on sale. This week the produce market had Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith apples on special, but we could use any blend of sweet and tart apples that we like. This recipe is a staple. I made over 40 pints and it will not last the year.

Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith apples
Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith Apples

"I always have applesauce in my fridge...my go-to snack."
  Professional Tennis Player and Author: Sloane Stephens

 

 

If you would like to print the recipe without all the pictures please click Download Low Sugar Homemade Canned 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.

 

Golden acorn logo!!! copy

 

Home Canned Spiced Applesauce - Low Sugar

Recipe type: 

Sauce

 

Produces:

 8 pints or 4 quart jars

Prep time: 

2 hours

 

Headspace:

1/2 inch

Cook time: 

1 hours

 

Processing:

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

Total time: 

3 hours plus 30 minutes

     

Ingredients:

  • 12 pounds apples (half sweet, and half tart apples)
  • 3 inch cinnamon sticks (2)
  • 3 inches fresh ginger (sliced)
  • 1 cup water or apple juice (to keep apples from scorching while cooking)  
  • Zest and juice of two lemons 
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large can of frozen concentrated apple juice (optional)

Instructions:

  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.
    Core and quarter apples
    Core and Quarter Apples
     
  1. Add cinnamon sticks, 3 inches fresh ginger (sliced thinly and in spice bag), water or apple juice, and zest of two lemons (chopped finely) to cooking pot.
  2. Let fruit cook for approximately 20-35 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare jars in boiling water bath, and prepare lids per manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Remove cinnamon sticks and spice bag before puréeing or mashing.
  5. Use a 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. I use a KitchenAid™ strainer attachment.
    Assembly order of KitchenAid strainer attachment.
    Assembly order of KitchenAid™ strainer attachment.
    KitchenAid Fruit/Vegetable Strainer Setup
    KitchenAid™ Fruit/Vegetable Strainer Setup
                                                         
    KitchenAid Fruit/Vegetable Strainer Top View
    KitchenAid™ Fruit/Vegetable Strainer Top View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KitchenAid strainer removes peels and seeds.
KitchenAid™ strainer removes peels and seeds.

6.  After puréeing, return pot with sauce to the stove and simmer.

7.  Add lemon juice, salt, almond extract, concentrated apple juice (if using), half the sugar and stir well.

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

9.  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 jars. One may simply write on the lid, or you may download my labels click Download Spiced Applesauce Low Sugar round label 2. 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.

 

For further information about making applesauce, and suggestions about how to customize your batch and avoid pitfalls click Home Canned Applesauce - What apples, in what ratios, with what amazing ingredients, in what style, and what pitfalls to avoid.

If you are looking for something a little different in applesauce click Canned Cranberry Spiced Applesauce - hands down absolutely the best applesauce I have ever eaten 

 

The Professor's Rating

The Professor gave it 4 stars.  "... Nice blend of flavors - I don't think it is too sweet."  

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

 

Spiced Applesauce Low Sugar Demystified

 

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.  Tart apples generally have a lower pH, typically a pH between 3.3 and 3.9. We also added some lemon juice to the recipe, so the sauce should be between pH 3.1-3.6, 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 should I use 2 lemons?

One normally adds a tablespoon of lemon juice for each quart of sauce to prevent color changes from enzymes and to brighten the flavor.

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. 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 chances of siphoning by applesauce, 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.

Disclosure:

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

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The Jam Scientist

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: 

Sauce

 

Produces:

 8 pints or 4 quart jars

Prep time: 

2 hours

 

Headspace:

1/2 inch

Cook time: 

1 hours

 

Processing:

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

Total time: 

3 hours plus 30 minutes

     

Ingredients:

  • 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 

Instructions:

  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.

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The Jam Scientist

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.

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The Jam Scientist