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Author Notes: Squirrel away the flavors of fall to enjoy all year with this simple and practical guide to making your own no-sugar-added canned applesauce. —Rachel (Simple Seasonal)
- 20 pounds assorted apples (both sweet and tart)
- 2-5 cups water
- fresh lemon juice to taste
- TOOLS YOU'LL NEED: 1 extra large pot for boiling water, 1 large pot for cooking apples, candy thermometer, 17 pint-sized canning jars, 17 canning lids and rings, funnel, ladle, magnet for picking up lids, jar, grabber, clean dish towels and paper towels
- Place your canning jars in the dishwasher on the high heat setting without soap to sterilize them. If you don't have a dishwasher, you can boil them in a pot of water for 10 minutes.
- Clean all of your supplies, including your lids and rings in hot, soapy water. Note that in the past the lids would be boiled, but Ball recently changed their product. If you boil Ball lids, it can damage the seal.
- Wash your apples in cold water.
- Remove the seeds and core, and roughly cut-up the apples.
- Add the apples to a large pot with a small amount of water to prevent sticking until the apples begin to release their juice. Depending on the apple variety you may need to add more or less water, so frequently give your apples a stir and add more water if the are beginning to stick to the pot. Bring to a simmer.
- Continue simmering until the apples are soft and falling apart. Place the cooked apples into a food mill and process until all you have remaining are the skins. Discard or compost the apple skins.
- Add your applesauce back into a large pot and heat until the applesauce reaches boiling point- 212ºF. Stir every couple of minutes to prevent burning.
- Wash your hands well before beginning to fill your jars.
- Remove your hot, sterile jars from the dishwasher.
- Using a funnel, ladle the super hot applesauce into your hot jars leaving about 1/4 inch of head space.
- Dip a paper towel into boiling water and use it to clean the rims of your jars.
- Place the lids on the jars, using a magnet, without touching the inside of the lid or the jar.
- Screw the rings onto each jar until resistance is felt and then loosen about 1/8 of an inch. This is important if you want your jars to seal.
- Place your jars into boiling water, also called a waterbath. "Process," or boil, for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the jars from the pot of water and place them someplace they can cool and seal undisturbed for 24 hours. You'll notice a "popping" noise as the jars seal. If any jars don't seal, then store in the fridge for up to a week, or reprocess with a new lid within a few hours of your first attempt.
- After 24 hours, remove the rings from the jars and store. Canned applesauce is good for up to one year when stored in a cool, dark place.