How to Can Applesauce – A Year’s Supply at a Time

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Canning a year’s supply of healthy applesauce can save a lot of money, and provide local organic fruit all year round as well.

Three mason jars of Apple sauce behind three fresh apples on primative wooden table

It may seem daunting to process so much applesauce, but there is a simple, non-taxing approach that will make wonderful sauce that’s ready to can and store so it can be enjoyed through the winter, and right up until the next apple harvest.

The apples should be washed in a water and vinegar solution, and then rinsed with clean water two or three times.

Since the skins are left on during processing, a good washing ensures that they’re free of any dust or dirt.

The apples can then be quartered with a chef’s knife and put into the slow cooker. There is no need to remove the stems or seeds, or peel the apples. However, any worm or bug holes or soft or dark parts of the apples should be removed before they are put into the cooker.

I fill the slow cooker as full as I can get it, since the apples will shrink down as they cook. In my slow cooker, the apples cook on high for four to five hours, or on low for about six to eight hours. The cook time can vary according to your model’s size and power.

When leaving the cooker on the high setting, a half cup of water should be added at the beginning, to keep the apples from scorching before they begin to release their own juices.

When the apples are mushy and may easily be smashed with a fork or spoon, they are ready to be pureed and processed.

I use a Victorio Strainer to puree my apples, but a regular food mill will work as well, if not as quickly.

The Victorio Strainer allows foods to be fed from a large hopper into the milling mechanism, and it separates out any seeds, peelings, and stems from the apple puree. The waste comes out the end of the grinding spiral and the applesauce pours down the chute into a waiting container.

Victorio Food Strainer and 4-Pc Food Strainer Accessories Pack

The applesauce should be poured back into the slow cooker to keep it hot until the whole batch has been pureed and it’s time to start canning.

The waste that’s left over, i.e. the pithy cores, seeds, and peels, all cooked and ground into a sort of dry mash, is great for a lot of different things.

I give it to my chickens as a treat because they just love it. It could also be used as mulch, or added to the compost barrel.

Remember never to eat apple seeds, and do not put them through a juicer or blender. They contain arsenic, and can lead to digestive upset.

If the sauce seems too watery, it can be cooked down in the slow cooker with the lid removed for a while before canning. But I find this method actually produces a thicker and richer applesauce than recipes that call for peeling the apples before cooking do.

This is because the peels contain a lot of pectin that is cooked out into the sauce, adding to a thicker, creamier mouthfeel for the finished product.

After the sauce has been pureed and is heated through, it can be canned in the water bath canner following standard procedures and safety precautions.

Alternatively, a pressure canner can also be used.

The sauce should be ladled into sterilized quart jars with half an inch of headspace. Apply the lids with rings and process for 20 minutes.

Processing time should always be counted from when the water in the canner returns to a rolling boil, not from when the jars are first put into the canner.

Apples that are naturally sweeter will result in a sweeter sauce. If a tart flavor is more popular with your family, you’ll want to mix in some tart apples when you start cooking them. I find that mixing up lots of different kinds of apples results in the best sauce.

My favorite mix is a combination of Ida Reds, Jonagolds, and Fujis. This combination results in a brown sauce with a pink tinge. The brown tone is just because apples oxidize, and it’s harmless. The pretty pink comes from the peels being left on during cooking.

Sugar can be added if desired, but I’d recommend processing the jars without any added sugar.

If the sauce is unpalatably tart, brown sugar could be sprinkled on or a drizzle of honey could be mixed in before serving. Since apples have so much natural sugar, this isn’t likely though.

Homemade applesauce is also delicious flavored with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

What are your favorite types of apples to use in homemade applesauce? Let us know in the comments!

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About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

31 thoughts on “How to Can Applesauce – A Year’s Supply at a Time

  1. Thanks for this recipe. I have a few cake recipes that call for this, but I rarelly make them since I usually don’t have apple sauce. But now I can just make a bunch with this recipe and use it whenever.

  2. I like the idea that applesauce is made up with pure sweet apples and no added sugar! Its acidity to sweetness, I like it when its thicker. Fresh home-made applesauce are naturally yummy!

    • Me too! I love applesauce but the store-bought stuff can be loaded with extra sugar. I love fresh applesauce. The thicker the better is always good for me as well. Applesauce is such a good snack and it’s a great add-on for so many different meals.

  3. Everyone in my house (including myself) LOVES applesauce so I’m definitely going to try this next season. Homemade apple sauce has a much better flavor than the store bought kind. This will also save us a lot of money. Thank you for the guide!

  4. Never tasted applesauce before but i bet its yummy taking to regard the positive comments above in that light. A wonderful tip on canning apples, it has been jotted down and kept in a safe place for future reference.. 🙂

  5. I love homemade apple sauce, but I usually rely on my mother in law to provide it! This year I’ve had a glut of apples, and instead of the usual chutney, apple and rhubarb jam, and endless apple pies, I’m going to give this a go and make my own apple sauce for a change. I love it with pork, and I’ve seen quite a few cake recipes using apple sauce, but I’ve never tried them.

    Looking forward to doing this!

  6. So we bought a new house and on our new property we had a few apple trees. Right now they are almost done producing, we’ve still got a few apples left on the trees. I don’t want the apples I have gathered up to go to waste, so I have made several apple pies and cobblers. I tell you after a while, they get old. However, I have never considered making applesauce! I have been dreading picking the last of the apples, our house couldn’t handle any more. I think now though I might give this a shot, my daughter is definitely a fan of applesauce.
    Thank you for sharing!

  7. I like the idea of using the slow cooker(s) to make the applesauce, but I am confused by your directions. In the title of your article it says “a year’s supply”, but in your article you don’t give any quantities of the ingredients or the final product. How many apples is a year’s worth of applesauce?

  8. This is fantastically useful, thank you! I recently became unemployed, so I’ve been trying to seize every opportunity to save money. I’m shamed to say it never occurred to me to can my own applesauce at all, much less a years worth at a time, but this sounds like a fantastic way to cut costs while also actually making something delicious. Thank you also for the clear instructions, especially what to do if it’s too watery- this is a problem I’ve had with making other things before, and I never really came to a good solution. Thanks again. I might make this my project next weekend.

  9. When you buy any sauce or fruit juice the amount of them that have added sugar or are just basically cordial drinks are crazy! Why would you take some apples, extract all the nutrients, oxidize the sugar syrup into powder, and then add water? Just ridiculous how processed some foods are. It is definitely better to do all that yourself and focus on the natural flavorings of foods.

  10. Aside from freshly made, canned applesauce is the best applesauce I have ever tasted. When I was younger, my mother and grandmother typically made it every fall using a manual food press.

    I have never been able to find a similar food press, and am happy to hear that the Victorio strainer does a good job. I will have to check it out!

    We also often added a bit of cinnamon to our applesauce prior to canning. Delicious either way of course.

  11. This couldn’t have come at a better time! I was just talking to my husband the other day about how I wanted to make apple sauce in bulk for my daughter. She loves it so much and it is so expensive to buy at the store! Not to mention all the preservatives and added chemicals. Thank you! I can’t wait to do this!

  12. Apple sauce is my absolute favorite snack and has my favorite fruit in it, apples! I usually buy apple sauce throughout the year at the grocery store and to know that this recipe/method could make a whole years supply makes more excited to use it. One of my friends did this and she has 2 kids and this is amazing for her because her kids love it and she never runs out as much as when she buys it from the store, amazing right! Want to try this so badly and eat it because it looks really good.

  13. My oldest son can not get enough applesauce. It is difficult to have enough on hand for other recipes. I try to purchase unsweetened kind at the grocery store however I think this will be a better way to go.

  14. For someone who doesn’t have a Victorio Strainer or its equivalent would you suggest skinning, stemming, & seeding them prior to tossing them in the slow cooker? I know it’s a little more labour intensive but it seems like I don’t have the appropriate gadgets to do it the easier way.

    • It’s a fine line whether doing the prep before cooking is easier than pushing it all through a sieve. I think sieving is marginally easier – unless of course you can bribe a spouse or family member to help you with the peeling and coring. And I think you do lose more if you peel and core, both in flavour and nutrients.

  15. OOO, I like this one. Real apple sauce. Looks like I need to get a few gadgets. Yeah, I was going to say you don’t need to add any sugar. If you wanted it sweeter maybe some coconut sugar. Maybe a little of a different fruit; Some lemon juice would keep the apple from browning. A tablespoon or two would work. This would depend upon your taste. Probably this way you might have to sweeten it because the lemon would change the flavor of the apple sauce.

  16. What a fantastic idea! I’m curious to try this with crab apples. I have a so many growing this year. Plus, with a new baby, apple sauce will make a perfect baby food to start her on.

    Like some of the posters above, I don’t want to add too much extra sugar. Apples are so sweet already, you know? But I guess that’s why homemade is best – you can control exactly how much of everything goes into the recipe.

  17. Homemade applesauce tastes SO good! Apples are so cheap during peak season that it’s well worth it. My husband was actually using a tool to peel the apples, cutting them, and putting them on the stove in a dutch oven to cook down. You don’t have to a tool like the one mentioned above, but I’d highly recommend at least purchasing the one to peel the apples! It goes so much faster. I think ours is Pampered Chef.

  18. Yum! Maybe this will be my first foray into the world of canning. I had no idea that you could make applesauce leaving the skins on the apples. And my chickens always love it when I get all “homestead-y”, thanks for these tips!

  19. Since, I was a young girl I have always wanted to can my own homegrown produce. I never knew the quickest way to go about it, until reading this article. We just bought a piece of property and are planning on planting an apple orchard this spring, so this article will be very useful when we start to harvest our first apples!!

  20. I used this method this year and have a cupboard full of gleaming bottles smiling at me when i open the door. I pushed it through a sieve which was really hard work. Somewhere I have an old fashioned Mouli, which must find again before next year. The sauce is lovely with roast pork and it’s also great as cake filling and lovely as a sauce on ice cream. A really goo all-rounder!

  21. I really love the taste of apple sauce. It gets even better when you start adding other things like cinnamon. I have even had it mixed with other fruits like blueberries, mangoes,and peaches. I will eat a fruit cup size as a nice treat. I have never tried canning my own before but that looks like fun.

  22. Looking Delicious! However I was wondering, would this same method be possible for pear or peach sauce etc.? Since I like making applesauce but it would also be cool if I could try making these other types of sauces this way.

  23. This process is a lot easier than I thought it would be. We have an apple tree in our yard, so we end up with a huge amount of apples in the fall. Making applesauce would be a great way to preserve them instead of trying to make one hundred pies! We could even give the canned applesauce as a homemade gift around the holidays.

  24. This is a great idea. I love to mix up apples with other foods, such as potatoes, and bacon, so this sauce would be a perfect addition to my meal plan. This fall when the apples get ripe, I think I’ll try this out and see how much sauce I can put up for the winter. As someone else suggested, this is a great gift idea for family and friends. Instead of spending a fortune buying stuff they will probably return to the store anyway, just make food items that they will enjoy instead.

  25. My aunt does a lot of canning of foods. I would love to make my own apple sauce according to this simple recipe. My kids are crazy about apple sauce and would love to have more of it in the house.

  26. This is a fantastic idea for me because I am trying my hand at some vegan baking, and applesauce can be used quite effectively as an egg replacement (perhaps because of the binding properties of the pectin, I imagine?). I have a carrot cake recipe that I love but am always hesitant to bake because buying applesauce is quite expensive here for some reason. I will definitely have a go and then I have jars and jars of excuses to whip up a carrot cake! Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  27. Well this really seems like something great to have on hand for all year round. I have trying to get more and more into canning and jarring different foods and learning how to store them and all of that, and this looks like something that I can add into that whole routine. I do like applesauce, but I really do not ear it all that much now that I think about it. Maybe that will change now, and I also would have to buy a lot of cinnamon too, because those two just go hand in hand for me. Thank you for sharing.

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