Homemade canned applesauce is just the best! Some people like it smooth – but we like it chunky. Serve it warm over warm homemade biscuits with cream, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream for dessert or serve it cold as a side dish for pork – or simply enjoy a dish of it on it’s own. The secret ingredient in this applesauce is the addition of those little cinnamon red hot candies – it gives the applesauce a lovely pink color.
You want a naturally sweet apple like Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Winesap, McIntosh, Yellow Delicious, Honeycrisp or Pink Lady – the more naturally sweet the apple the less sugar you have to add to the final applesauce – sometimes none at all. Being from the Northeast, McIntosh are my favorites for making applesauce and apple pie.
For each quart of prepared, canned applesauce you’ll need:
- 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 pounds of apples
- Sugar (optional)
- cinnamon red hot candies
I’ve always made applesauce the old-fashioned way – using the peel, core and cut into chunks method, I have an apple peeler that has a clamp base (you can probably fine one at your local hardware store if they have a decent home canning section or you can find them at WalMart). Ben likes it, but I prefer just a sharp knife.
Cook apples in a large heavy bottomed pot with just enough water to prevent sticking until they are soft, but still chunky. If you want smoother applesauce at this point run them through a sieve or a food mill (or a Sauce Master). What I like to do is take about half the applesauce and run it through the sauce master and take a potato masher to the other half and just break up the chunks into smaller pieces.
Put everything back together in your pot – add sugar to taste and the cinnamon red hots. Bring it to a boil, stirring to prevent sticking (you need to really keep an eye on this as it’s so sweet that it will scorch if the pots bottom isn’t thick enough) – simmer for 5 minutes.
Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace, adjust 2-piece caps. Process both pints and quarts for 20 minutes in a water bath canner.