*Making and Canning Applesauce*
10 December 2002
Every year in the fall we make and can applesauce as a family project. We spend a weekend getting together and talking, renewing family ties and drinking some wine. As a bonus, we end up with about 100 quarts of apple sauce. This is a process that will work well to water bath can any acid food. Acid foods include jellies, jams, preserves, marmalades, fruits, tomatoes with acid, pickles, relish, and chutneys. This is NOT a process to use with low acid foods. Low acid foods include vegetables, meats, poultry, seafood, and combination foods like a tomato meat sauce. Acid foods – Yes, low acid foods – No. Now what do we do.
1. First, assemble the jars, lids, and bands you will be using for the canning.
2. Then, wash the jars, bands, and lids in hot, soapy water. Rinse them well. Heat jars, bands, and lids in 180 degree water. Do NOT boil the lids. Boiling can damage the rubber that makes the seal between the lid and glass of the jar mouth.
Now, make the applesauce (or whatever you’re canning.) We peel, core, and chop the apples, add a little water and then start to cook then down. As they cook we test for taste and then add a little sugar if they are too tart. Make sure to stir them often as they first start to cook down or they will stick to the pot and burn. It really is not rocket science. Just boil them down a little and when they are soft mash them up. We do not add apple juice, just water because it is less expensive and less fuss, but some folks like to add apple juice before they start to boil the sauce down. Others add cinnamon or other spices like nutmeg, some folks don’t like to add any sugar. Make what your family will eat! Oh and by the way – when you see mostly women in the pictures here, that’s because I was only taking pictures when the men were on break. But everybody helps to make the sauce.
3. Now, fill the hot jar with your recipe. Leave ¼ inch of room at the top (called headspace) for fruit juices, pickles, or soft spreads like apple butter or ½ inch for fruits and tomatoes. We get about 8 quarts of sauce from a ½ bushel of apples.
4.Remove air bubbles by sliding a knife or spatula down the side of the jar all the way around. The air bubbles can expand at a different rate than the food in the jar and cause the jar to explode in the water bath. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice per quart to keep the fruit from discoloring if you are canning fruits.
5. Wipe rim and threads of jar with a clean damp cloth. Center heated lid on jar with the rubbery sealing compound down next to glass. Screw band down just fingertip tight.
6. Start the water in the water bath canner boiling. Place the jars in your water bath canner and make sure they are completely covered with water. With the water continuing to boil, cover, and boil for at least ten minutes.
7. After ten minutes or whatever your recipe calls for, (at least ten minutes!), remove the jars and set them upside down on a towel to cool for at least 5 minutes, which helps them to seal. Avoid drafts at this stage as the jars can break! Bands should NOT be re-tightened. Cool for 12 to 24 hours.
8. Test for seal by pressing center of lid. If the lid does not flex up and down - it is sealed. Remove bands, wipe jars and lids with a clean damp cloth, label and store jars in a cool, dry, dark, place.
Now make some applesauce! It really is that easy and not very expensive. Once you taste homemade applesauce you’ll wonder what the store-bought variety is really from. And that’s how you -
Get out and train!
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