Homemade Applesauce (and how to preserve it)

Homemade Applesauce | In Jennie's Kitchen

Until two weeks ago, I hadn’t made homemade applesauce in years. At least eight, in fact. It was one of Virginia’s first foods. The great benefit to giving birth to spring babies means first foods are chock full of bounty from the farmers’ markets. Simply steam a sweet potato, and mash it. Do the same with super ripe bananas. Homemade meals are so easy in those first months of being a new eater, at least for the tired mama preparing them.

Applesauce was a favorite back then, too, and not with just Virginia. Michael loved applesauce. Honestly, I’d never seen an adult so enamored with it. I mean, it’s just cooked, pureed apples. There are so many other foods to choose from when you’ve got full-fledged teeth, but eating applesauce straight from the jar was something he loved. He got quite a few talkings to from me about contaminating the entire jar with his germs, but now that I think about it, perhaps this was his strategy to ensure an entire jar for himself? I suspect this may come up with Matthew as the years go by, him being an applesauce lover, too.

Anywho, you’ll find lots of recipes for homemade applesauce. This one here isn’t revelatory, except for the fact that it uses nothing but apples, and the tiniest bit of water to help steam them. I’m not for spices in my applesauce. Feel free to add some to the pot if you prefer, but a perfectly ripe, naturally sweet apple captured—time suspended in a jar, is all I need to be happy.

Homemade Applesauce | In Jennie's Kitchen

Speaking of sweet, I don’t understand why recipes include things like honey or syrup, and good heavens—why add sugar to an applesauce recipe? That’s just crazy talk in my opinion. The kind of apple you choose is important to determine the flavor of your applesauce, so if you’ve more of a sweet tooth, just choose a sweeter apple. I love using honeycrisp. Lots of people use macintosh—they’re my least favorite, both raw and cooked. Experiment combining apples, too, some tar and some sweet, for a more nuanced and customized flavor.

Canning homemade applesauce is incredibly easy

Apples are high in acid, so no additions are necessary, as with the copious amounts of sugar in jam, or adding lemon juice to tomato sauce to raise the pH levels.

Homemade Applesauce | In Jennie's Kitchen

Simply add cored, cut up apples to a pot with a touch of water. Cover, and bring it to a boil, then cook, uncovered, until the apples are collapsed and tender. You’ll notice additional liquid in the pot from the water released from the apples. Don’t add this water to your sauce, or it’ll be too thin, but do chill it to enjoy as a refreshing drink (try it simmered with some lemon and ginger).

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For those wanting exact measurements, let’s say 1/4 cup water per 10 apples. I love the consistency of homemade applesauce made with a food mill. This also means I don’t have to peel the apples! The mill does the work of separating it from the puree, and also adds a touch of color from the skin if you’re using a red-skinned apple, plus that’s where the pectin is, too!

Once the applesauce is pureed, spoon it into clean, sterilized jars, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Boom—that’s it! Homemade applesauce preserved. It’s really that easy.

Homemade Applesauce | In Jennie's Kitchen

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