We've been eagerly looking forward to canning applesauce since we turned the page of the calendar to the month of September. Our main motivation for canning is so that we can have those wonderful tastes of summer and autumn deep into the winter. We also want to save money by growing fruits and vegetables or by looking for the best value.
Our own apple tree did not produce this year, so we did our legwork looking for the best bargain, and did we ever find it! Not only in price, but also in taste. We made the sweetest applesauce .... without adding sugar!
We called local farm markets to get prices. Yesterday we took a drive to a nearby Amish community. We obviously couldn't call for a price. Their price was good, but we were a day early. We talked to a store keeper who told us about a place with good prices. We were on our way home when we saw a hand-written sign along the road that said, "Apples for sale." We stopped. The apples were picked from the tree in their back yard, and their price was the best we had found. We bought a bushel of the lovely Rome apples. Today we used them to can applesauce. The texture was perfect, and they were so sweet we didn't even have to add sugar! We would definitely buy Rome apples again for making applesauce.
Canning Applesauce with a Food Mill - It's so easy!
Wash and quarter the apples, removing the stems. Cook the quartered apples to soften them. You can cook them on high in the microwave for 10 minutes, stirring them halfway through the cook time. (Cook the apples in a colander placed inside a bowl to catch the liquid.)
Another way you can cook them is to steam them in a strainer placed inside a pot with a couple of inches of water on the bottom. Cover them with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, stirring the apples halfway through the cook time.
Place the cooked apples (core, seeds, skin and all) in the bowl of the assembled food mill. As you turn the crank, the roughage comes out the front, and the pureed applesauce comes out the side chute. I am sure our mothers and/or grandmothers would be crying to see how easy we have it today.
Heat the applesauce to boiling in a stock pot. If it's not sweet enough for your taste, you can add some sugar. You can also add cinnamon or nutmeg if you prefer. The Rome apples were so sweet, we didn't add any flavoring at all.
In the meantime, heat your canning jars and lids. Fill the canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe the top rim of the jars and screw on the lids. Place in the water bath and cook for 20 minutes. (In the background of this picture you can see apples steaming in the strainer in a pot. I took the lid off for this photo.)
We canned 12 quarts of applesauce from the generous bushel of Rome apples that we bought from our neighbor. The day ended as beautifully as it began!
1. Chunky Applesauce
For chunky applesauce, puree half of your apples above. Peel, core and cut up the other half of the apples. Cook them, as above, until soft.
Mash the cooked apples with a potato masher or pastry blender until they are lumpy. Combine the apple chunks with the pureed apples and continue with instructions above.
2. Cinnamon Flavored Applesauce
Add Red Hots candy to your applesauce while it is heating up, according to your taste preference. I used two boxes of the candies (6.72 oz. each) for this whole bushel of apples.
Whether pureed or chunky, the Red Hots candies give the applesauce a pretty pinkish color and a sweet cinnamon taste.
September 26, 2013 Update: This year we bought Cortland apples for making applesauce. We found them to be firmer and more tart than the Rome apples we used last year. So we had to cook them longer before saucing them, and we added a little sugar to sweeten the sauce a little more. The sauce turned out great, but we liked the Rome applesauce better. It's fun to try different apples for making sauces and pies, though, so that you become familiar with the different varieties and know your preferences. Follow this link for a chart that compares various popular U.S. apple varieties.
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