For reals applesauce has to be the EASIEST thing to can. I mean there is basically one ingredient: apples. I add lemon juice so I am doubly sure my PH is canning safe, but if you’re just going to freeze it you don’t even need to add that! And of course you can fancy it up with cinnamon and/or sugar, but I leave both out, adding cinnamon (Tuesday does) upon serving.
So here is a visual guide to my easy process for a huge, big, ginormous batch of applesauce.
This is what my set up looks like at the end of the day, when things are about ready to go in the canner, but really I work on this on and off all day if I’m home, and it’s easy. Most of the day I work with the smaller stock pot on the front right burner.
First thing I do is quarter and core the apples. No peeling required! You can’t tell by these pictures but these are from a friend’s tree, and um, organic. meaning, they have bumps, bruises, and worms. It doesn’t bother me, I just cut those parts out. This will not hurt you one bit!
Here there are in the pot, with a bit of water in the bottom (an inch or less) to prevent scorching, and a hefty squirt of lemon juice. If I’m busy I just leave this on low heat and let it simmer for a while (you can also put it in a crock pot), if I really want to get things moving and am in the kitchen any way so I can keep an eye on it (and stir), I up the heat. Just don’t let it burn or boil over and you’ll be fine (I do leave the lid on at low heat. I find that it steams the apples nice and soft).
I’ve talked two friends into this immersion blender so far this summer, and you’re next. 🙂 No, seriously this Cuisinart Smart Stick blender is amazing (affiliate link – oh my gosh just realized it comes in colors!). And yes Bj you can tell me, “I told you so.” Because when he wanted to get it I remember saying, no we have a blender. My friends just try to put these apples in a regular blender and then deal with the hot lava that results – DANGER. For $35 this thing pays for itself in one canning season. My friend J has used hers every day since she bought it. Either way blend up the apples. I don’t worry too much about texture at this point because I add it to the big vat and figure that out later:
It is hard to make out just how big and awesome this stock pot is (partly because it’s next to my mom’s even bigger giantess of a water bath canner). It is nice and fancy from our wedding, but you can get big pots like this from restaurant supply places. I did score another giant one at an estate sale. I will say though this All Clad one (affiliate link) has two cool steamer baskets that make it more than a one trick pony.
So all day the pureed apples (with lemon juice) go into the big pot. I don’t keep heat on it, but the applesauce keeps itself plenty hot. At the end of the day when the kids are in bed and it’s safer for me to wielding the jar lifter (do yourself a favor and order this one please! After a very messy and dangerous accident involving hot glass, boiling water and super heated salsa I think those other piece of crap lifters should be banned!). When I have the last batch of apples going in the small stock pot I start the jars heating up in the water bath canner, at the same time warming the lids (it’s not necessary to do anything to the rings). I also make sure the big batch of applesauce is warm, and add water if necessary. Once all the applesauce is together in the giant stock pot I take a jar out of the water one at a time, add applesauce (leaving 1/4″ headspace), fish out a lid from the hot water it’s sitting in the tiny pot, and put that on. Then I finger tighten a ring around it. Repeat. Once all the jars are in the water bath canner I make sure they are covered by an inch of water and bring it up to boil. 15 minutes of processing and I’m done! I turn the heat off, take the lid off and wait five minutes before getting them out of the canner.
I was thinking about how much this saves me, because lets be honest, a lot of the crafts I do don’t save much money! I love my supplies!
Apples: from a friend, free (don’t be shy about knocking on the door of someone who has a tree with fruit all over the ground! I’ve done it, they’ll be happy to have you help them I bet)
Jars: as you may have guessed I thrift most, but unfortunately I also give lots of canned goods away and with them, the jar! This year I had to buy jars again. I’m going to make a nice note next time letting the recipient know if they are a canner to keep the jar, if not, I’ll gladly have it back. So I pay 44 cents on sale for brand new jars (comes with lids and rings), or max 25 cents for a used jar.
Lids are 1.69 or 1.99 on sale for a pack of 12.
Plus lemon juice, cost of heat, etc…..
I’m thinking worst case senario a jar of applesauce costs me maybe 50 cents? I have no idea what the price of this is in the store, but the best price I could find on organic applesauce online was $3.50… is that normal? I don’t know, but I’ll never buy applesauce again!