As I wrote about on Monday, we spent our Saturday afternoon at the apple orchard. After our apple picking adventures, we returned home with about fifteen or twenty pounds of apples. This summer, we canned homemade pasta sauce and fresh peaches, so we decided to add applesauce to our pantry for the winter as well.
Applesauce was by far the quickest and easiest of all three canning processes, so I thought I'd share with you how to can applesauce. If you're new to canning, we use a water bath canner and these simple canning supplies. We use Ball canning jars, which we pick up at our local Target or sometimes find at the grocery store.
First, after washing the apples, core them and place the sliced apples in a huge stock pot to simmer with several cups of water. The water helps the apples cook, but don't use too much water or it will thin out your sauce. As the apples cook over medium heat, stir them regularly so that they do not stick and burn to the stock pot. Once the apples have been broken down to a fairly soft and saucy consistency, use a food mill to remove the apple peels and grind down any remaining whole apple pieces.
At this point, if you'd like to add anything to the sauce, you may do so. We added a little bit of brown sugar and cinnamon to this batch, but it is also quite tasty on its own. Once your sauce is ready, it'll be time to start the canning process. We used pint sized jars that had been sanitized in the dishwasher. While the sauce was being processed through the food mill, bring a large canner filled halfway with water to a boil. In another stock pot, bring more water to a simmer.
Next, dip the pint jars one at a time along with their lids and rings into the simmering water. Use tongs to remove the jar, lid, and ring from the hot water, and fill the jar with hot applesauce. Don't forget to leave about a half an inch of space at the top! Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a warm cloth, place the lid on the jar, and screw the lid closed tightly with your finger tips.
Finally, place the jar filled with applesauce in the canning rack. Once your canning rack is completely filled with jars, lower the rack into the boiling water, place the lid on the canner, and process the jars for 40 minutes. At the end of 40 minutes, remove the hot jars from the boiling water and let them cool. As they cool, the jars will seal, making a "pinging" sound.
Overall, canning is an easy way to stock up your pantry with the fresh tastes of local produce for the long, cold winter months. We ended up with 12 pints of applesauce to enjoy for the coming months.
Do you like to can fresh fruits and veggies? What are some of your favorite canning recipes?