I first posted this recipe almost 2 years ago as it was that time of the year to make and can applesauce which has been a yearly Fall ritual for many years. It is also one of my oldest recipes as this comes from my Grandmother on my Dad’s side. I use to can a couple bushels of Cortlands but now I can only about half that much. The apples should be Cortlands for the flavor and the red skins which gives the applesauce its color. There are no seasonings or sugar, it is just the apples. Dad always said Grandma added some sugar but I feel the apples are sweet enough (healthier for sure). See also Applesauce From Scratch for my original recipe.
I decided to update this special recipe as my first post lacked the detailed instructions, pictures and canning procedures. This is for my benefit as well so I have all the information I need in one place. So, it is a little lengthy if you decide to can the applesauce, otherwise the recipe is very straightforward. Dad, Gene, Denny Sr. and Denny Jr. especially just loved this recipe – they were always happy when I put some out on the table. This is great on a Danish roll or toast and always good as a side dish for pork or ham.
Last year we had a drought and the availability of apples was pretty slim but luckily I had enough leftover from the previous year to get by. In 2013 the apples are absolutely gorgeous and there are plenty of them as we had great weather this year.
First, you quarter the apples and remove the seeds and stems. Using very heavy, good pots add the quartered apples with just enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Cook and stir occasionally until the apples become mushy and start to separate from their skins.
Two large pots to hold all of the apples. This is one time a 6 burner Viking stove would come in handy. Maybe my next house! The picture on the right shows the apples getting mushy.
I just love my Victoria Strainer; see my post Kitchen Gadgets – Victoria Strainer. As you add the apples and water they cooked in the mixture becomes a pinkish color and a deeper pink as the skins are processed through the strainer.
It does take a number of hours to slowly cook down. Ready to can in my water bath canner. See my post Kitchen Gadgets – Water Bath Canners.
The finished product…
One good thing about canning any apple product is you can either freeze or can them; I do both. If you choose to freeze use the wide-mouth canning jars or any appropriate freezer container.
To can you need to get some things ready. If I am canning a lot of applesauce I will run the jars through the dishwasher, heat the lids (not the rings) in a small saucepan and heat the applesauce until it is boiling (212°F). If I am only canning a small amount I might heat the jars in a large saucepot filled with water. You need hot jars and hot applesauce! These are the same directions for using a boiling water canner or a pressure cooker.
Remove one jar at a time from the dishwasher and fill with hot applesauce allowing 1/2-inch head space if you use the boiling water canner and 1/4-inch head space if using a pressure canner. Run a spatula around the applesauce to get rid of any air bubbles. Wipe the sealing rim with a wet towel and then with tongs place a hot lid on top of the clean rim and put the ring on and screw tightly. Carefully place in the boiling water canner. Cover, and once the water has come to a full boil begin counting; 20 minutes for pints and quarts. At the end of the cooking time remove and place on a towel to cool. You will hear a “ping” as each jar seals.
The pressure cooker I have is just for canning food in pint or quart jars. My canner is a Sears Kenmore 22 quart model. The manual has a date of 1978 so yes this kitchen gadget has seen a lot of use and best of all it still works! There are many different sizes and manufacturers so just do a little research. Anything from Sears has always been a good investment for me. If you have a garden and a lot of extra produce you certainly should consider canning. For me freezer space is at a premium so canning is a good alternative.
The applesauce page was used frequently!
The steam gauge on the left and the pressure regulator on top of the vent pipe on the right.
Place 2 quarts of boiling water, the cooking rack and jars in the pressure cooker. Check the vent pipe in the lid to be certain it is open. If you need to, clean it with a pipe cleaner or small brush. The vent pipe is on the right and the pressure regulator on the left.
Place the lid on the canner, aligning the “V” with the mark on the body handle and lock securely by turning clockwise. Exhaust the air and jars by adjusting the heat to a high heat setting to obtain a free flow of steam from the vent pipe. Reduce heat to maintain a moderate steam flow for about 10 minutes when canning at 5 or 10 pounds pressure, and 5 minutes when canning at 15 pounds pressure.
Next place the pressure regulator firmly on the vent pipe. Heat the canner until the pressure regulator attains a gently rocking motion or correct pressure is registered on steam gauge. Adjust the temperature if you need to so the right temperature is maintained.
At the end of the processing time, turn off the burner and remove from the heat. Let pressure drop of its own accord. The air vent cover lock is in the front and will pop up when the pressure has been achieved inside the canner and will come down when the pressure has dropped.
Remove the pressure regulator from the vent pipe and let the canner cool for 10 minutes before removing the lid. Then open the cover toward you to keep the steam away from you. Remove jars with the jar lifter and set on a towel or board to cool. Canned applesauce using my Sears Kenmore Pressure Canner.
There are many “gadgets” you should have when you are canning; funnel, jar lifter, tongs, spatula, big soup spoon, lid holder (makes it easier to pick up each jar lid).