Everything you wanted to know about canning applesauce…. and then some.

Ahh… apples. I’m pretty sure if I never see an apple again it will be WAY too soon. As I mentioned in my last post I have put up well over 100 pounds of apples this year, here are my beautiful organic galas and eckharts… all 120 lbs of them.

I think applesauce is probably one of the easiest things ever to can.

There are lots of different way to make applesauce, this is how I’ve done it and my kids both ask for it constantly. I have the fruit and vegetable strainer attachment for my kitchenaid mixer and that is the only reason I have been able to make this much applesauce without going completely nuts. I can’t recommend it highly enough! I got it from ebay for super cheap. LOVE it.

Anyway here is what I do:

Remove the hard stem of the apple. Using an apple slicer/corer (I have this one and it’s great. Don’t get a cheap one, you will get blisters!) cut up all of your apples and throw them into the biggest pot you have. I usually fill the pot about 1/4 full and add some fruit fresh first to keep them from going brown.

Fill up your pot…

I add water as I go; just enough to barely cover the apples.

Cook your apples on medium high heat until they are just fork tender. I try not to cook mine too much, we don’t want to cook all the good stuff out!

This is where my wonderful, handy, strainer comes in. Trust me… after putting 60 lbs of tomatoes through my SIL’s food mill I can tell you first hand this strainer is a God send!

This is what my set up looks like:

Hmm. That’s really small. You’ll have to click on it if you can’t read the words. Also, I’m reasonably confident that the correct term for what comes out of the strainer isn’t apple poop but that’s what we call it.

Now you just turn on your mixer and start pushing apples through! Technically you could strain them (DON’T get rid of the water though!!!) and start a new pot cooking but I just let mine sit in the water and scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Here’s what it looks like from my point of view.

There really isn’t much more to in than that. You push the apples through and they come out the other end as sauce.

For the most part I don’t add anything to my applesauce. Some people add cinnamon but I always add it after, when I am going to use it. I have added non-pasteurized honey a couple times when I was using tart apples but that’s all.

Notes:
-leave LOTS of headspace. More than you think you need. For quart jars I generally fill up to the bottom of my canning funnel and then lid them. Applesauce expands a lot during processing and it gets messy if you don’t leave enough headspace.
-I often run the ‘apple poop’ through the strainer a second time. It seems to really cut down on the waste and it really helps to thicken up the sauce.
-cooking your apples until they are just soft enough to go through the strainer yields a much thicker sauce than cooking them until they are mushy. Running the poop through also thickens up the sauce considerably.
-I didn’t do a canning tutorial, there are lots of good ones out there but make sure you are using hot jars and lids and processing them for long enough.

And last but not least:
That water you cooked the apples in? Save it!!! My kids love this. We don’t drink juice in our house at all so they think this is the biggest treat ever. You might need to add a little extra water between batches but the more batches of apples you cook in it the stronger it gets.

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Has it really been a month since I blogged? Yikes!
So since I did so much canning this year most of it is stored in boxes in my office and coat closet in the front entrance. I’m not going to go count all the jars mainly because there is just too much! I’m pretty sure I kept fairly accurate records in my home management binder and I’m going to keep track of when we run out of things so I know how much to do next year.
Here is what I’ve done since my last canning post:
Fruit:
Peaches (100 more lbs)  most of these got preserved in ultra light syrup. My kids LOVE them. Luke calls them ‘bapples’ and could easily eat half a quart in one sitting if I would let him. 
Pears: 50lbs (organic from apple man)
-20 lbs into pear sauce for the kids to have in porridge
-10 lbs in light syrup
-30 lbs  into pear/applesauce
Apples: (150lbs organic gala, mac, and Eckhart) This was all turned into applesauce. So far I have at least 30 quarts and I still have one box of apples to sauce.
Grapes: 6 lbs into jelly. I didn’t use those yucky wine tasting concord grapes. I used normal red grapes. *ahem*
Pickled:
Beans: 8 lbs into Pickled green beans. Yum! We all love these. I made more but I still don’t think it’s going to be enough to last us the entire year.
Asparagus: 4 lbs pickled asparagus. I did this fairly recently so I don’t know how it will taste. It looks great though! I’m glad I froze my extra dill when I was doing pickles.
Carrots: 30 lbs dilled pickled carrots. We all love these too. I have more frozen dill and I think I’ll probably be making more of these sometime soon if we keep going through them at this rate! There is a stall at our farmers market with carrots all year which will make it easier.
Cucumbers: 40 lbs
-20 into bread & butter pickles: YUM! I am not sharing these with anyone, my husband is lucky if I share them with him when a jar is open. I’ll probably make only these next year.
-20 into dill pickles. These are all right. We aren’t big dill pickle eaters here for some reason… Everyone definitely prefers the bread & butter pickles.
Tomatoes:
I have no idea how many tomatoes I have done. I forgot to count while I was doing them so I’ll keep a tally as we take them out to use them.
Zucchini salsa:  yum! Nathaniel loves this and I love cooking with it. It makes great salsa chicken!
I thought my canning was winding down for the year but I just found out that Nathaniel’s aunt who lives a couple blocks from us has TWO pressure canners and would be happy to let me borrow them… so I guess I’m not winding down afterall. 🙂 Now that I have a pressure canner at my disposable I’m planning on doing some tomato/spaghetti type sauce and definitely some chicken and beef stock.
I have really focused this year on canning things that I know will help reduce our grocery budget. We aren’t big jam eaters, both my kids and husband prefer honey so I didn’t do much jam (well except the 80 something pints my mom and I did… I have raspberry jam coming out of my ears!). 
Wow this is a long boring post. I don’t have time to put pictures in though sorry! I do have an applesauce post coming up though… I have learned a lot about it this year!