applesauce 10


I think that if it weren’t for tomatoes and applesauce, all of us who were formerly “preserving-challenged” would never have given it a real attempt. I mean, jams and jellies are great to eat, but it’s a lot of work (although definitely worth it) for something that only impresses your friends once and you can get for like a dollar at the store. But few things are more satisfying than opening a jar of pure summer in the form of your garden’s canned tomatoes, or in this case a jar of perfect fall in the form of applesauce. In February, the crappiest month of the year when nothing fresh or beautiful can possibly happen, suddenly you can pop open a jar of September and remember the colors of the leaves and the empty blue sky and just the tips of your nose and ears getting cold as you picked out your favorite apples to preserve. 

Last year was Rachel’s and my second year making applesauce, and it was honestly disappointing. At the fateful advice of the random orchard lady we consulted, we ended up with some of the firmest, tartest apples that exist. The sauce was thick and puckery and not very tasty, and it even clogged up our friends’ squeezo (for those of you who know what that is). So my advice to you is to do your research– find an apple that is sweet and soft and learn to love it. We’ve had good luck with cortlands and jonagolds, but there’s plenty of room to branch out. Many people even mix a few kinds of apples to get a more complex flavor.

We like to add as little sugar as possible, so adjust this to your taste and to your apples. Any applesauce will be acidic enough to can, so once you like it, process it according to the procedure in this post or ask questions in the comments.

What are your applesauce stories? What’s your favorite variety of apple?


Applesauce Recipe

10 lbs apples (or however much you want to process)

sugar (if needed)

cinnamon (if desired)

This made about 4 quarts (8 pints) for us, but results may vary.

Halve or quarter your apples and cut out the seeds and stem. We like to leave the skins on to add to the flavor (and save some work, to be honest), but that’s up to you.


Fill your biggest pot with the apple pieces and pour an inch of water into the bottom. Gently bring the pot to heat.


As the water steams the apples, they’ll give off their own juices and the pot will keep filling up and softening the rest of the fruit. Continue until you get everything to a good simmer/almost boil, and let it cook like that for awhile.


After 20-30 minutes, your apples should be soft enough to mush with a spoon or something. If they’re not, cook a little longer.


Process the apples through your sauce maker of choice. We like our little food mill; it’s small, but gets through a lot of applesauce pretty quickly, and it keeps the peels separate.



Once you’re done, you should have a nice, soft applesauce at the bottom of your bowl. Taste and add sugar if needed, and cinnamon if wanted.


Spoon into jars with 3/4 inch headspace and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.



Set aside for a cold winter evening when you need a little fruit and joy in your life. Enjoy!


10 thoughts on “applesauce

  1. Reply Sacha Oct 19, 2012 1:19 pm

    My go-to recipe for apple sauce is . So easy and delicious!

  2. Reply Sacha Oct 19, 2012 1:20 pm

    Okay, clearly my HTML tags were screwy in the previous comment. You get the gist. :-)

  3. Reply Lyn Oct 19, 2012 1:24 pm

    Two tips to make it even quicker: Use organic (or natural unsprayed) apples so you can leave the skins on and not worry about pesticides. Instead of a food mill, use an immersion blender right in the pot (or puree in a food processor or blender). It makes great smooth applesauce and there’s no hint of skins after the cooking and puree-ing. And more nutricious. I promise tastier to, with the flavor of the peels!

    • Reply Todd Oct 20, 2012 12:09 pm

      I like those tips… I haven’t tried “skins on” applesauce, but I did it with apple butter recently and it seemed to turn out fine. It doesn’t get gritty or anything from the peels?

  4. Reply Robin Oct 19, 2012 2:12 pm

    I have never used an immersion blender, will try that with my next batch. I have been peeling and coring the apples and throwing them in the crock pot. After a few hours, they just fall apart. I stir them together and leave them a little chunky. delicious!

  5. Reply Becky Oct 21, 2012 1:08 pm

    I do mine in the crockpot, I remove the seeds as I don’t have a good tool for straining them out after the apples are cooked down. I like a blend of apples – we prefer late season varities, as they have far more flavor. Some of our favorites are black stem, mutsu, stayman and the pippin. I run out to Henley’s orchard and get a few bushels of seconds every fall – some to eat, some for pie, some for applesauce, some for apple butter.

    • Reply Todd Oct 21, 2012 5:39 pm

      I really like the idea of using a blend, that’s fun. The variety that didn’t work for us last year was stayman, because it’s too firm and tart, but I can see it being nice in a mix.

  6. Reply Samantha Jul 25, 2013 11:58 am

    I make apple butter and sauce by putting cut up apples, (core, seeds and skins)in top portion of a juicer/steamer, cooking until soft, then running everything through a Victorio Strainer, which separates the cores, seeds and skins out the one side and beautiful apple mash out the other side. Then for apple butter I put mash, sugar and spices into large pan, simmer for awhile (until I think its ready) no more than 30 mins, put in jars and process. For sauce I just mix the mash and however much sugar (or not) then put into jars and process.

  7. Reply Marlene Oct 7, 2013 7:48 pm

    Just made this….going to send some for my granddaughter as she will soon start to eat and there is no sugar….
    Applesauce tastes amazing.

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