This homemade preserved applesauce recipe is simple to make and delicious! Make up a batch of this old-fashioned treat to enjoy the entire year.
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My homemade applesauce history
Growing up, my Mammam made applesauce every fall. She used apples from two Macintosh trees in the yard. These small, hard, and tart apples were good for eating (I still remember biting into one as a kid), and they made the best applesauce!
Mammam only used simple ingredients: apples, sugar, and a little cinnamon…not too much! She would cut up the entire apple (probably including the worm!), throw them into a pot and cook it all down into a delicious sauce. She would then preserve a few batches up for the year, but they never lasted very long.
Making large-batch applesauce from scratch is a labor of love, but I promise that once you have tasted homemade, you will never buy any again. I have found a few tricks that make the process much easier, and I love being able to share them with you.
Mammam used Macintosh apples because that is what she grew on the homestead. They are long gone now, but I hope to plant a couple of trees in the spring. I use a combination of Macintosh and Cortland apples and find both the texture and taste to be the best.
Cortland apples are a cold-hardy apple originating in New York. They grow quite well here in central Pennsylvania. Cortlands are a cross between a Ben Davis and Macintosh and have a nice white flesh and mild sweetness that can be eaten raw. I love to use them in fresh fall salads!
Macintosh apples are considered an all-purpose apple that can be used in both cooking and fresh eating. Macs are tart in taste with a nice white flesh. The skin of the Macintosh is what gives my applesauce its trademark pink color that my family loves.
Homemade preserved applesauce is quite an easy process. Because it is a high acid food, the water-bath canning method is used. Preserved applesauce will last up to two years on the shelf, but I promise you that it will not be there for long.
Although Mammam cut up the entire apple, I like to core the apple so that I don’t need to deal with seeds later in the process. I then slice the apple with the skin on into chunks and throw them into a large stainless pot. The skin gives the applesauce a beautiful pink color! I then add enough water to prevent scorching on the bottom and cook the apples down to a nice soft consistency.
For years I ran the cooked apples through a hand food mill, but two years ago I asked Santa to bring me a Weston food strainer and sauce maker like this one. Although it is still a manual crank (you can purchase an electric version), it is MUCH easier than my old way and far less mess. Plus, this system produces a nice consistent sauce.
After processing through the mill, I return the sauce to a large pot and heat on the stove, then I add sugar and cinnamon to taste. This is where you tailor the recipe to your own liking. I usually use around 1-2 cups of sugar for a large pot of sauce and enough cinnamon to add speckles throughout the sauce, but not enough to change the color of it. The key is to add a little and taste.
After the sauce is seasoned to your liking, ladle that pink goodness into half-pint or pint jars. Wipe the rims of the jars with a cloth dipped in white vinegar and place a new, clean lid. Screw on a band to fingertip tightness.
Processing preserved applesauce
Place your jars in a water-bath canner and bring to a boil. Process for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing the jars a towel lined surface. Allow to cool completely for 24 hours. Check the lids for proper seal and remove the bands. Wipe the jars and label with contents and date.
Supplies needed to make homemade preserved applesauce
- 1/2-bushel Cortland apples
- 1/2-bushel Macintosh apples
- Large pot
- Food mill
- Water-bath canner
This recipe makes a lot of applesauce, about 24-48 jars depending on the size of jar used. Because the sugar and cinnamon are adjusted to your preference, you can size down this recipe to your liking. I hope you and your family enjoy this applesauce as much as my family has for 4 generations!
Homemade Preserved Applesauce
- 1 Large stock pot
- 1 Apple corer
- 1 Food mill or Sauce maker
- measuring cups/spoons
- 1 Water bath canner If preserving
- 1 Funnel, jar lifter If preserving
- 24-48 Half pint or pint jars
- 24-48 Canning lids/rings
- 1/2 bushel Cortland apples
- 1/2 bushel Macintosh apples
- 1-2 cups White sugar
- Cinnamon to taste
To make applesauce
- Wash and core apples. Cut into chunks and fill a large stockpot. No need to peel apples
- Add enough water to prevent apples from scorching on the bottom of the pot. Cook until apples are soft
- Run apple mixture through a food mill or sauce maker
- Return prepared sauce to the stove and add 1-2 cups sugar, depending upon your taste, and cinnamon to taste.
To preserve applesauce
- Fill jars with applesauce leaving a 1/2 inch headspace
- Wipe rim of jars with a clean cloth to remove any residue and place a new canning lid on top. Screw band on to fingertip tightness only
- Place jars on a rack into a boiling water bath canner. Process for 20 minutes
- Turn off heat and remove lid of canner. Allow to rest 5 minutes before removing jars onto a towel lined surface.
- Allow jars to cool overnight. Check for seal, remove bands, wipe jars clean, and label the contents/date