MAKES 2 PINTS OR 4 HALF-PINTS
Apples are a quintessential autumn fruit. They are easily available year-round, but nothing beats the taste of homegrown or fresh-from-the-farm apples. One of my favorite ways to savor the season of this fall fruit is by canning them. No sugar is needed, and the result is a fruitful sauce that can be eaten on its own for snacking (or added to kids’ lunches), paired with yogurt, or used in baking. Empress, Cortland, Gala, Jonagold, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, and Honeygold apples are all great options for this recipe.
- 4 pounds apples
- 1⁄2 cup filtered water
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg (optional)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves(optional)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1. Start heating the water in your canning pot. (See complete canning instructions on page 38 at beginning of chapter of our Sourcebook.)
2. Core, quarter, and dice the apples. Put them in a large pot, add the water, cover, and bring to a simmer.
3. Let the fruit cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture is soft.
4. Using an immersion blender or food mill, break down the fruit until it has reached the desired consistency.
5. Add the spices (if using). Taste and add sugar if necessary.
6. If you use a food mill, return the smooth applesauce to the pot and heat it back to a simmer. It doesn’t require any additional cooking, but it should remain hot.
7.Working quickly and carefully, funnel the hot applesauce into the sterilized jars, leaving 1⁄2 inch headspace.
8. Remove any air bubbles with a bubble remover. Wipe the jars clean, and place the lids on the jars. Process in the water bath for 20 minutes.
9. Store the jars in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Once opened, store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
TIP: I don’t always peel my apples. I’ve found that the skin breaks down as the apples slowly cook, providing added nutrition. If you don’t like the skins on, you can either pick out the peel as the fruit cooks or peel the apples before you start cooking them.