This simple applesauce recipe is so much tastier than the bottled stuff at the store, and you don't need any special equipment in order to safely preserve it.
- 3 pounds/1.36 kg apples
- 1/2 cup/118 ml apple juice (or water)
- 2 tablespoons/35 ml lemon juice (fresh)
- Optional: 1 stick cinnamon
- Optional: 2 tablespoons/35 ml honey (or 1 1/2 tablespoons/21 g sugar)
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (ground)
Wash and core the apples. Cut into slices or chunks no thicker than 1-inch thick. If you have a food processor or a food mill to use after the apples cook, you don't need to bother peeling them. If you will be mashing the applesauce by hand (with a potato masher), then it is worth taking the time to peel the apples.
Put the prepped apple pieces into a large, non-reactive pot (no aluminum or non-enameled cast iron) and mix them with the sugar and spices, if using.
If you are using honey rather than sugar, instead of mixing it with the apples dissolve it in the water separately.
Combine the water and lemon juice. Mix in honey, if using. Pour the liquid mixture over the apples.
Cook the applesauce over medium heat for approximately 25 minutes, stirring often until they are mushy.
Remove the cinnamon stick, if using. At this point, you can either mash the applesauce with a potato masher (or the bottom of a wine bottle), run it through a food mill, or puree it in a food processor.
Applesauce is easy to preserve for future use. It freezes well and also cans beautifully.
To can applesauce:
Fill clean pint or half-pint jars (it is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe) leaving 1/2-inch of head space between the top of the food and the rims of the jars. Use a butter knife or a small spoon to release any air bubbles.
Wipe off the rims of the jars with a moistened paper or clean cloth towel (any food stuck to the rims could prevent a good seal). Fasten canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Adjust for your altitude if necessary.