You probably know that autumn is a busy time of year. The overflowing garden and orchards are keeping us all busy with canning, pickling, freezing, fermenting, you name it.
I love to have lots of homemade applesauce on hand and considering the low cost of bulk apples (free if you have a tree or know the right people) it’s hard to justify not making any. I’ve always been a fan of short cuts; I even made a pie once without peeling the apples, still getting crap from the family on that one! This is hands down the easiest and fastest way to make applesauce I’ve ever found.
There is a slight downfall though. You need something to separate the apples and peels. I did it for years with a Victorio Food Strainer and Sauce Maker but this year I’m using the KitchenAid Fruit and Vegetable Strainer that hooks to my mixer. The strainer is cheaper (actually if you already have a mixer they are about the same, if you want to grind meat go ahead and buy the meat/fruit combo) but requires some arm power, luckily I still get my arm workout carrying Mary around.
Fast forward to Saturday and my Grandma, sister, three cousins and I “apple picking” from the old farm trees. There were probably 20 trees but each one was 25+ feet tall. And they are all planted on a ravine so even if it looked like you could reach some decent fruit by the time you made it to the base of the tree you were 2 feet lower than you thought you’d be. The slope also made a ladder too dangerous, if you could even get a ladder into the dense overgrown apple trees. It was a real shame that we couldn’t get to the really nice, bright red and shiny apples but I managed to drag home 3 shopping bags full of free apples. I taste tested a few (as did my 3 year old nephew who got mad at me when I cut him off after 5 apples) and they were all sweet with a little bit of tart.
I like to do my sauce this way for a few reasons. First of all, you waste a lot of good apple cutting out the core and removing the peel. Second, if you have red apples your sauce is pink! I’m not a pink girl at all but it’s fun.
This recipe assumes you know the basics of water bath canning. If not please check out this post on water bath canning basics.
- Water or Cider
- Optional - Cinnamon, Sugar
- Cut large apples into quarters and smaller ones in half. Remove the stems and cut out and bad parts (brown spots on the skin that don't go into the flesh aren't bad spots)
- Put apples and a few inches of water in a large pot. Cover and cook on low until soft. The water turns to steam to cook the apples
- Once the apples are soft run them through the food strainer.
- Prepare your jars, lids and water bath canner and return the applesauce to the pan
- Slowly heat until bubbling, stir in cinnamon to taste if desired. I leave mine plain. If you start with sweet apples (or like tart sauce) you won't need to add sugar but if you want sweetened sauce now is the time to add it.
- Fill jars to a ½ inch head space, add the lids and screw bands until finger-tip tight
- Process for 20 minutes