Recipe: Homemade Applesauce for Canning

If you’ve read my blog, you know that applesauce is an important part of many of my dairy-free recipes. I rely on it for baked goods, pancakes, and as a delicious snack. Making homemade applesauce has become a lot easier for me since I got a stand mixer attachment that can peel, core, and slice apples with the flip of a switch. Because of that, I took 100 apples this fall and made it into a ton of applesauce (13 pints and 4 quarts if my photo and memory serves me correctly).

All you need to use when you’re water bath canning a batch of applesauce is apples, lemon juice, a little bit of water, and some jars. The most time-consuming thing, even if you have an attachment, is getting the apples cored, sliced, and peeled. After that, it’s pretty quick. I got three batches done in about 4 hours.

I used the Ball Recipe to make the applesauce, which is really the gold standard for any water bath canning recipe, in my opinion. Here are some takeaways I gathered from the recipe, tips that I want to pass on to you:

  • My Fruit Fresh Protector was old and all clumped together, likely from humidity in my old kitchen. I didn’t have anything except for more lemon to try to prevent browning on the apples. Honestly, I’m not going to even sweat it next time. Browning apples doesn’t make the applesauce any less delicious. If you want to skip using it, do it. It doesn’t hurt to add a little extra lemon.
  • Sugar is truly optional. I didn’t use any sugar in my recipe and my applesauce still came out very sweet (I used Macintosh apples that I picked at a nearby orchard). Especially if your plan for the applesauce is to use it in baked goods, don’t add any sugar. If someone in your house has a sweet tooth, they could always add some later.
  • I’ve probably written this tip on other canning posts, but the thing that takes the longest is getting the giant pot of water boiling that you’ll be using to process the cans. Make this your priority, then move on to washing and prepping jars, then peeling apples, and so on. You’ll thank me later.
  • The first time I made applesauce, a couple of jars exploded. I’m not sure if it was because I had some air bubbles in the jars or that I didn’t leave the right amount of headspace, but I was more precise and deliberate with both matters the last time I made applesauce and had no problems. Keep note of the headspace you should be leaving in the jars (1/2 inch) and make sure you don’t see any bubbles in the jars before you process them.
  • A lot of people use water to sanitize their jars, but I “bake” them instead after washing. I leave them in my oven at 250 degrees. So far everything has come out perfectly and I don’t have to mess with hot water as much.


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