Canning Applesauce

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Call me basic, but fall is for sure my favorite season. The slow, sometimes dreary, weather is welcomed after a long busy harvest. This year, our gardens just keep on giving. It’s September 26 and I just now pulled the rest of my pepper plants but they still had blooms on them! The cold weather is here though and any further growth would be minimal at best. Fall is a time when the world starts to slow down again. When the vibrant colors show their face. Plus, one of the best parts, it’s time for apples. Days when the wind pelts the windows are perfect for baking apple pies and apple bread. One of the main ways that we preserve apples is by canning applesauce. 


Variety of Apples

The type of apple that you choose for your sauce is going to greatly impact the flavor. Some people swear it is best to just do one flavor of apples but we prefer to mix them both together. Last year, 2021, our applesauce tasted like candy in a jar! I’m hoping the same can be said about this year’s batch but we just canned it and haven’t gotten to try it yet. For some reason, I like to think it tastes better after a little bit of aging too, but maybe that’s just me.

The apples that we use for our sauce are Macintosh and Courtland. They both lean towards the sweet side for apples. Honestly, I think everyone is going to tell you something different based off of what they prefer. We’ve definitely used different apples before too but these are a couple tried and true varieties that we feel confident vouching for. In my humble opinion, the Macintosh is going to be the “old fashioned” applesauce recipe and it’s what many of the older generation lean towards for an apple variety. The Courtland is a newer variety and it’s not as well known but just as good. You can choose either variety or mix and match them like we do. 

For a run twist, throw in a couple of honeycrisp for an even sweeter sauce! 

Tools Needed

Apples cooking down.
A CampChef is optional, but makes this job so much more enjoyable.
  • Knives
  • Cutting Boards
  • Food Mill (this is the one we use)
  • Heavy Bottom Pot (this is the one we use)
  • CampChef (optional, but ideal to be able to work int he fall weather)
  • 9×13 Pans
  • Silicone Spatulas
  • Large Spoon
  • Large Bowl
  • Jars
  • Lids
  • Rings
  • Waterbath Canner
  • Ladle
  • Funnel
  • Jar Removal Tool
  • Magnet

Directions for Canning Applesauce

  1. Quarter apples and place into the heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Add a couple inches of water into the pot to help make sure the apples don’t burn to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Cook apples down until they are a little bit past tender. You still want them to be whole but they should no longer be firm.
    • We choose to do this outside on the CampChef because it’s just another way we can soak up the last of the beautiful weather.
  4. Run the apples through the food mill.
  5. Ladle the applesauce into clean (sterilized) jars. SLIGHTLY below the hips.
  6. Tap the jars on the counter a couple of times to get the air bubbles out. Add more sauce if necessary to fill.
  7. Add lids and rings.
  8. Waterbath process 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.
Applesauce, ready for canning!
Applesauce, ready for canning!

Tips & Tricks

18 lbs of apples will make approx. 6-7 quarts of sauce or 12 pints of sauce. 

You can add sweeteners and/or spices to your applesauce if you wish to. We choose to leave it as natural as possible and find that it is plenty sweet for what we need. However, that’s just our opinion. If you want to add these, do this between steps 3 & 4. I would make sure that all of the apples have been processed and you are left with the entire batch of sauce as that will make the most consistent product. Add it into the batch of sauce and then taste it to make sure it’s just what you want. 

Don’t overfill the jars! The first couple times we did this we overfilled our jars. Thankfully they were still sealed but it made a great big mess and our jars were still sticky no matter how many times we wiped them off. We leave a pretty big gap on the top. When you pull out the jars you can visually see that expansion has occurred, it’s pretty fascinating. 

Try not to overcook the apples. It’s a fine line to walk. If they get too mushy you may start to get applesauce that starts going into the waste portion of the food mill. The apples should retain their shape for the most part.

Next step, food mill. Almost time to start canning applesauce.
Next step, food mill. Almost time to start canning applesauce.

Looking For Another Method?

The other way to do this is to peel, core, and cut apples. Then you can cook them down in either a pan, roaster, crockpot, or instant pot. Once they are tender, use an immersion blender to blend them into sauce. I prefer using this method for smaller batches that we eat right away but it’s honestly a great way to do it if you are busy and don’t have large gaps of time to devote to canning. You can devote a chunk to getting them in the cooker and then you won’t have to do more work until they are cooked. The rest of the process is pretty much the same too. Once blended add any sweeteners or spices you desire. Then put it in jars and waterbath the same way. 

In Summary: Canning Applesauce

If you already have the food mill and you are used to using it, applesauce is pretty simple. The cooking down of the apples takes the longest so if you have multiple burners going- or a CampChef in addition to another stove- it makes the process go much more quickly. Applesauce is so fun to preserve and if you do it inside your house it’s going to smell incredible for awhile. We love to have it on hand as something to snack on but also to bake with if needed. Applesauce makes a great replacement for oils in any type of recipe! 

Tell us in the comments what you do with your apples in the fall! How are you preserving them?

We also like to make pie filling and will possibly freeze some pies and crisps for a quick easy dessert. 

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