Nana's Homemade Applesauce

By • November 13, 2012 • 0 Comments



Author Notes: For me, October and November are all about apples and making homemade applesauce. And let me tell you, once you’ve had homemade, you will never, ever, ever go back to store bought. Trust me. I won’t eat any other kind of applesauce anymore.
It’s long been a tradition for my mom and I to get together and spend roughly six hours on a Saturday making applesauce (Now Inge gets to share in the joy, too!). Why so long? Because we usually turn out about 30-40 quarts! It’s insanely messy and hysterical. We constantly trip over each other, fight for the sink, fling apple peels all over the kitchen – pretty much have a blast making a mess…but a delicious mess. She learned to make applesauce from her mom and my Dad’s mom (my grandmothers). They would spend hours in the kitchen doing what my mom and I do together now.

We prefer the pure, simple, and sweet taste of the apples. We don’t add any flavors other than sugar. Some of the best apples to use for making applesauce are Gala (our favorite), Empire, Cortland, McIntosh, Jonathan, Golden Delicious (more tart), Jonalicious, Jonagold, and Fuji. You could use some others, too, but these are the ones you’ll get the best flavor and consistency.

You can get your apples anywhere, but for larger quantities you’re better off purchasing them from the farm markets and local orchards. The orchards and farm markets will sell them by the bushels. You’ll get about 12 to 16 quarts of applesauce per bushel of apples. Count on 12 or 13 quarts per bushel. If you’re only making a small amount, figure about 3 to 4 pounds of apples per quart of applesauce you want to make.

Instead of canning the applesauce, we freeze it in 3- to 4-cup study plastic containers (with lids). If you freeze it, the shelf life is indefinite (barring freezer burn and whatnot). Canned, which you can certainly do, has a shelf life of about 2 to 3 years.

This is for a large quantity – 20 to 30 quarts. If you want to make a smaller quantity, just reduce the amount of apples you use.
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Makes 20-30 quarts

  • 2-3 bushels apples
  • 1 cup sugar per 8 quart pot of apples, more or less to taste
  • Water
  • Food mill
  • 20-30 4-cup/quart freezable sturdy plastic or glass containers with lids
  • 8 quarts cooking pot
  1. Wash and dry containers and lids.
  2. Wash the apples, then use an apple corer/wedger to slice and core the apples. Discard the cores and seeds. NOTE: You do not peel the apples! You will put the entire apple (minus stems and core) into the pot to cook.
  3. Add approximately 1-inch of water to the bottom of a large (8 quart) stockpot. Add apples and put the pot on the stove.
  4. Turn heat to HIGH until apples are boiling (you’ll hear popping, snapping, and gurgling…don’t be alarmed).
  5. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium or medium-high, and continue cooking the apples until extremely soft and mushy, approximately 30-45 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning. You want the apples to simmer, not boil constantly.NOTE: if there is a lot of standing water (juice) among the cooked apples, you may want to ladle it off before you sieve the applesauce, or your applesauce may be too watery. Be sure to save and refrigerate the juice – that is tasty natural apple juice! You can use it to cook the next batch of cut apples, or drink it!
  6. Place a large bowl in the sink and place sieve/food mill over top of the bowl.
  7. Once the apples are cooked, put a small batch of the cooked apples (including the skins) into the food mill, and use the wooden plunger/handle to push it through the sieve into the bowl.
  8. Stir in 1 cup of sugar per 8 quarts of applesauce, with more or less to taste. Ladle into containers and let cool completely before freezing.
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