Tuesday, August 30, 2022

How to Can Applesauce

This canning applesauce recipe is so easy to make, and it's perfect for beginners.  Canning applesauce water bath is easy to do at home to preserve your apples to enjoy throughout the winter.  You can then use your applesauce as a side dish or snack or use it for baking.

Canning Applesauce Recipe

Each year, I am canning applesauce without sugar to preserve apples.  I use the applesauce to serve with dinner as a side or for the kids lunches.

I also use applesauce in place of oil in quick bread recipes and desserts.  I use it in my moist zucchini bread recipe, apple bread with applesauce, and chocolate zucchini cake recipe

I also use applesauce to make my Crock Pot apple butter and apple fruit leather

I do canning applesauce no sugar because the apples are plenty sweet.  You can also add sugar if you want to, and I'll have directions for that below.

For more fall canning recipes, check out these posts:

How Do You Preserve Homemade Applesauce?

I used to freeze applesauce because it's easier.  I really like the ease of freezing, but I didn't like having to wait for it to thaw.

With a family of five, I also didn't have a lot of freezer space to spare.  I need my freezer to stock up on meat when it's on sale.

So now I make homemade applesauce canning to keep it on the shelf.  Even if you're new to canning, this is one of the easier things to make.

If you want to freeze your applesauce, you can make it as directed below and then place in freezer containers.  Leave some room for expansion and freeze.

What Are the Best Apples for Applesauce?

The best apples for canning applesauce without sugar are free apples.  I use what we grow in the orchard.  

If you don't have an apple tree, ask neighbors or friends for their apples.  If you offer them applesauce, they will likely let you pick what you want.

We grow several kinds of apples.   The orchard was established when we moved here.  There's supposed to be a map of fruit varieties, but we haven't found it.  Each year we say we will make our own map, but we don't get to it.

I use the bigger apples to make apple pie filling and canned apples, and I use the small apples or apples that I need to cut bad spots out for homemade applesauce canning.  

If you're buying apples or planting a tree, here are good apple varieties for a canning applesauce recipe:

  • For sweet apples, try Cortland (my favorite), Crispin, Fuji, or Golden Delicious.
  • For a little tart and a little sweet, try Jonamac or McIntosh.
  • For tart or crisp, try Liberty or Ida Red.

The best homemade applesauce is usually made with a mixture of apples.  I like to use mainly Cortland, but I also add some tart apples in for flavor.  

If you want to learn how to can applesauce without sugar, then I recommend using a sweeter apple.

Can I Make Applesauce and Can it Later?

Yes, you can!  If I'm busy, I'll make applesauce one day and put it in the fridge to can the next day or in a few days.  Homemade applesauce will last up to 10 days in the fridge, but you should try to process it as soon as you can.

Do You Have to Use Sugar When Canning Applesauce?

No, you do not have to use sugar.  I do canning applesauce no sugar.  I use sweet apples, so it doesn't need sugar.

You can also add sugar later if you wish.

If you want to add sugar, add 1/8 cup of sugar per quart of applesauce or to taste.

Do You Have to Use Lemon Juice When Canning Applesauce?

No, you don't need to use lemon juice for homemade canning applesauce.  I never use lemon juice when I can applesauce.

Lemon juice can prevent browning.  My jars turn brownish when they sit on the shelf, but it doesn't bother me.  

You can either add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice per quart of applesauce or soak your apples in water and lemon juice before cooking the apples.

How Do You Thicken Applesauce for Canning?

If your applesauce is too thin after cooking, you can simply let it simmer to cook off water to thicken it.  Stir often so the applesauce doesn't burn.

Can you Can Applesauce in Water Bath?

Water bath vs pressure canning applesauce: which one is better?  You can pressure can or water bath can applesauce. 

I do water bath canning applesauce because it's quicker and easier for me.  Apples have enough acid in them for safe water bath canning.  

For a list of what you need for canning, check out my canning supplies for beginners.

How Long Do You Water Bath Can Applesauce?

For water bath canning applesauce, process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes.  

Adjust for altitude:

  • 1001 to 3000 feet pints 20 minutes, quarts 25
  • 3001 to 6000 feet pints 20 minutes, quarts 30
  • 6001+ feet pints 25 minutes, quarts 35

How to Make Applesauce

First, prep your apples.  I use my homemade fruit and veggie wash to wash them and then remove any bad spots.

You can cook your apples on the stove or in a slow cooker.  The slow cooker is pretty much hands off, but it takes longer.  

The stove top lets you make bigger batches and is much quicker, but you'll need to stir it often to make sure it doesn't stick or burn

After you cook your apples, you need to then turn it into applesauce.  There are a few different options:

  • I use a food strainer to make applesauce.  You put in cooked apples, and it separates the cores, seeds, and peels and spits those out to the side.  Feed these to your chickens or use them to make apple juice in a juicer.
  • You can use a food mill to make applesauce.  
  • You can also use a potato masher or immersion blender.  You will need to peel and core the apples before cooking for this method.
  • Use a blender or stand mixer to mix the applesauce.

You don't have to completely puree the apples.  You can leave some chunks if you like chunky applesauce.  

I love my food mill because I just have to wash the apples and quarter them before cooking them.  For all other methods, you'll need to peel and core the apples.  

How Long Does Homemade Canned Applesauce Last?

Your canning applesauce recipe will last about one year on the shelf.  If you do not use lemon juice, then your applesauce may darken as it sits.

Don't forget to label your jars with printable canning labels.

If your jars didn't seal, check out why canning jars might not seal and learn how to reprocess jars.

Water Bath Canning Applesauce Tips

Here are some tips for how to can applesauce:

  • Use sweeter apples for canning applesauce no sugar.  
  • Use a mixture of apples for a deeper flavor.  I like to use 3 sweet apples for one tart apple to balance the flavor.
  • Add 1/8 cup sugar per quart of applesauce if desired.
  • You will need about 21 pounds of apples to make a 7 quart canner load.  For 9 pints, use about 13.5 pounds of apples.
  • One bushel of apples will yield approximately 14 to 19 quarts of applesauce.
  • A food strainer is the easiest way to make applesauce because you don't need to peel or quarter the apples.
  • You can use an apple corer and slicer to make coring and slicing easier and less time consuming.
  • You can cook your apples in a slow cooker, but it will take longer to cook.
  • Place apples in lemon juice and water to prevent browning, but this is optional.
  • Use a potato masher to mash cooked apples for chunky applesauce.
  • You can add cinnamon and other spices and still have a safe water bath canning applesauce recipe.
  • You do not need to sterilize your jars since you process the food for more than 15 minutes.  You can learn more about how to sterilize canning jars here.
  • For more information about safe canning at home, check out these 11 canning mistakes that can kill you so you can avoid them.

Canning Applesauce Water Bath Ingredients

You will need the following for 7 quarts of homemade applesauce canning:

How to Can Applesauce

Step #1

Wash the apples.  Peel and core them unless you are using a food strainer.  Place sliced apples into lemon juice and water to prevent browning if desired.

Step #2

Drain apple slices and place in a 10 quart pot.  Add 1/2 cup water and heat until the apples are soft.  This can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.  Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Step #3

Mash the apples with a food strainer or use a potato masher or immersion blender.   Taste the applesauce.  Add 1/8 cup sugar per quart if desired.  Return sauce to a boil.  You can simmer to reduce water if needed.

Step #4

Prepare canning jars.  Fill to 1/2 inch head space and remove air bubbles.  Add lids and rings.  

Step #5

Place jars in a water bath canner and cover with 1 to 2 inches of water.  Process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes.  

To adjust for altitude, process:

  • 1001 to 3000 feet pints 20 minutes, quarts 25
  • 3001 to 6000 feet pints 20 minutes, quarts 30
  • 6001+ feet pints 25 minutes, quarts 35

Step #6

When time is up, turn off the heat and remove the lid from the canner.  Let the jars sit in the canner for 5 minutes to cool.  Then use the jar lifter to remove the jars and place on a towel or cooling rack.  Let cool completely before testing the seals.

Keep track of this recipe and all of your canning recipes in my printable canning journal.  You can print the pages and create a binder to save your information.

Now you know how to can applesauce without sugar!

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