Don't be afraid to make your own organic applesauce at home. It's SUPER easy and costs a great deal less than the stuff at the store, not including the costs of the recyclable jars and lids, of course. If you've never ventured into the art of home canning, I'm here to tell you that it's not hard and certainly not as mysterious as scaredy cats say it is. All that droning that goes on about food poisoning, having super sterile conditions, and the lengthy time it takes to preserve foods. BAH!
While yes it's true that canning jars and lids must be hot and sterile before adding the foods, it doesn't take much to keep them clean. If you're already a neat and organized person in the kitchen, a cleaning as you go type and having your tools and food ready, home canning is just another recipe. And as for the time it takes to "put up" a recipe, well, that really depends on the amount of food being put up. However, I've experienced home canning to take 2 to 3 hours tops. And that was with me taking my time, having my kids help me peel and cut, just sitting around the kitchen making memories.
The first time I cooked and photographed this recipe, I only made enough to yield 2-pints of applesauce, as seen from the photo above. Now that my family has tasted and approved of it, I've made several batches. And just to give you an idea of how good this recipe is... my sugar-addicted, picky-eating, daughter told me that she would give up sweets if I would always make this applesauce. Okay then.
HERE'S ALL IT TAKES
to make 4 quarts
- 1/2 case organic red or tart apples
- juice of 2 small organic lemons
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1 cup REAL organic maple syrup (Grade B is the BEST!)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
PREP YOUR WORK AREA
Fill your water-bath canner enough to cover jars with 1 to 2-inches of water, begin heating the water to boil. Make sure you have a metal rack to keep the jars from touching the sides and bottom on the pot. I use a large stockpot that has its own steam basket.
Be sure that your jars, lids and bands have been washed in hot, soapy water and rinsed well. Metal lids with a sealing compound may need holding in hot, boiled water for a few minutes.
Get all your canning tools and clean towels out and have them ready to grab.
PREP AND PREPARE THE APPLESAUCE
Peel, core and cut apples into 1-inch chunks and fill a very large enamel or stainless steel pot. Squeeze lemon juice over top and add water to the pot.
Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to an hour, until apples are very tender and can be mashed with a fork. Stir occasionally to keep apples from scorching on the bottom of the pot.
Use a hand blender to puree the hot cooked apples to a smooth consistency.
Stir in syrup and spices. Don't let the applesauce cool down. You need it hot for what they call the 'hot-pack method'.
Fill the jars and allow for 1/2-inch head space. Wipe top and threads of jar before applying metal lid. Screw on metal band to be hand-tight but DO NOT over tighten. The band is only there to keep the lid in place during the water-bath processing. Be sure the band is screwed down evenly all the way around.
As each jar is filled, place in rack of canner. When filled, place rack in canner with water hot or boiling. Add more hot water to cover top of containers if needed. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to hold water at a steady, but gentle boil. START COUNTING PROCESSING TIME AFTER WATER HAS REACHED A BOIL.
Processing Time: Pints and quarts size jars need 10 minutes.
Carefully remove jars and set upright and well spaced apart in out of a draft to cool Allow to cool for 12 hours. Test to be sure jars are properly sealed. To test a jar that has a flat metal lid, press center of lid; if the lid is down and will not move, the jar is sealed.