Apples may be on your grocery store shelves year-round, but apples are in season in the fall. There's more to say about apples (check back for entries all about them soon), but today it's all about sauce. An apple-picking birthday party for my boyfriend's now-three-year-old niece (still age two in the picture) left me with a big bag of assorted apples and no plan. Luckily, I had plenty of jars and a couple of free hours.
Applesauce is easy like that. You can decide to make it on a whim and have something delicious before you know it.
If you decide to can your applesauce, it makes a great gift (especially for Hanukkah, where it can be served right away with latkes!).
- Apples (as many as you like, of assorted variety or a specific type you like)
- Sugar (I like to use brown sugar, but white will work, too)
- Lemon juice
- Cinnamon (powdered, not a stick)
- Ground cloves (optional)
- Wash, core, and chop apples. I leave the skin on and slice the apples into a medium size. The smaller the pieces, the faster they'll cook!
- Throw into a deep pot with a bit of water (1/2 or 1 inch) at the bottom and put over a medium heat with a lid on it, removing the lid to stir occasionally
- As the apples cook, they'll soften and release more liquid. Once the liquid is close to the equal level as the apple pieces, add lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves to taste (err on the slight end, you can still add more later)
- Stir and continue cooking until apples are very soft, then blend with an immersion blender or in an electric mixer
- Now's your chance to taste the sauce and add anything extra (more cinnamon? yes please)
- You can keep your sauce in the fridge (or enjoy it warm right away), or can it for long-term preserving (and gift-giving) using the instructions below
- If you plan to can your applesauce (for preserving it long-term outside the fridge) you'll want to start heating a full water bath canner with clean, open jars in it when you start making the sauce; this will sterilize the jars and get your water bath ready
- You'll also want to sterilize the jar lids (the disks), by placing them in a small pot covered in water and bringing it to a low simmer (not a boil). They can just remain in the cooling water once they've reached that point, ready to use at the right moment.
- When the applesauce is blended, return it to the stove top, keeping it at a simmer
- Carefully remove your hot jars from the boiling water bath and fill with applesauce, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top.
- Run a spatula, knife, or chop stick around the edges of the jar to remove air bubbles, and wipe the top rim of the jar with a rag or paper towel to remove any residue
- Place disk lids on the jars and fasten lightly with bands. Then return the jar to the water bath.
- Once all the jars are full and in the water bath, bring it up to a boil and let cook for 20 minutes (adjusting as necessary for altitude).
- Remove jars and place on a towel or rag on a counter. You may hear the jars "pop" closed, or you may not.
- Check your lids later to make sure they aren't flexing. If any do, they are not sealed and should be kept in the fridge. Either way, now you can tighten the rings and put the jars away for safe keeping.
For more detailed instructions, check out Ball Jar's applesauce recipe.