What do you think of when fall hits your neck of the woods?
Pumpkins? Crisp, colored leaves? Wagon rides? Apples? Ah, apples…
I have been CRAVING some homemade applesauce here – since we were literally down to our last jar that was canned last year. In years past, I had used sugar to sweeten our applesauce – because conventional foods had trained us to prefer our applesauce super sweet. In this past year, however, our family has changed our way of eating. We like our foods REAL. In their natural state – well, as close as we possibly can, right?
Anyhow…. Fall has hit, which gave us a trip out to Lattin’s Cider Mill, here in Olympia, Washington. Home of the best cider around. And best pumpkin cider donuts. And apples. 🙂 Get the picture here? We took a trek out there after school last week and picked up a 20 pound box of Jonagolds, a gallon of fresh apples cider, and a few too many donuts. Trust me – they are THAT good.
May I introduce to you……. Homemade Unsweetened-But-Sweet-Enough Applesauce!! (And the crowd goes wild…. Woot woot!!) I understand I may be the only one THIS excited. But hey, this is good stuff here!
If you’ve been following us here at the Faulk Farmstead, you know that when it comes to preserving foods, I am not terribly measurey (you know, one who does not measure) about things. But trust me. This is easy. You can do this.
Apples (I used 20lbs of Jonagold apples today)
1 stick cinnamon
Approximately 5 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Start by preparing your apples. I generally hate this part. Unless my apples are super crisp. I use a turn-crank apple peeler-slicer-corer, like this one. This little gadget miraculously peels, slices, and cores the apple with a turn of the handle! Yeah! Really! These are HUGE timesaver – but here’s a tip: make sure you do not have soft or borderline-mushy apples. It will not work and you will get insanely frustrated. I did. Today. Which means I had to manually peel, core, and slice/chop the apples MYSELF! I know! The HORROR!
Ok, so after you get your apples peeled, cored, and sliced, chop them into bite-sized chunks and toss into a stockpot. I have a few stockpots, but the one that works the best for me is my wide 7 quart one. So I will be measuring in relation to this one. Sorry 🙁
Fill your stockpot 3/4 full of chopped apples and add a few generous splashes of water – this is to prevent any burning of the apples. Can you say “YUCK”? If you see that your apples are sticking a little, add more water – It won’t change things too much. It’s ok. Along with the apples and water, toss in a cinnamon stick and mix things around. Cook this over medium-low heat until things soften up a bit and you can smoosh a chunk of apple against the side of the pot. In my pot, this took maybe 30 minutes or so.
Once you get to that point, add in some pumpkin pie spice, to taste. For each 7 quart pot full of apples I used, I stirred in about 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice. If you prefer NOT to have that cozy-cinnamon taste, just leave it out. It will still be fabulous.
You are now ready to smoosh it up even more! I LOOOOOVE my immersion blender. I have a Braun, like this one, and use it not only for sauces and canning, but even for my homemade beauty products. Truly indispensable! I just stick right into the stockpot and whirl away! Oh yeah, and DON’T forget to remove the cinnamon stick first. I might have forgotten to do this in the past. And it might have ruined a batch of Roasted Plum Butter. Which might have made me cry.
Anyhow…. Blend it up to your liking. We like our with a little bit of chunk in it. You know, an applesauce with some substance to it. 🙂 Once you have it how you like it, you can pour it into you clean, sterilized canning jars. Leave 1/2 inch headspace, and process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.
Just a thought: You might want to leave out a huge bowl of warm applesauce for you and the fam – because I guarantee no one will be able to wait to dig in!
And there you have it! Another super easy canning recipe that will continue to give your family wonderful tasting applesauce for the entire year! Or half a year, if your family eats it like my family. My 20 pound of apples yielded 16 pint jars and 2 quart jars.
Yay! Fall is here!
You can also see this post on the Homestead Barn Hop!