Apples overflow here at our homestead in the Fall and every year we put them up, in abundance, to enjoy, until the next crop comes in! Apples are so easy and versatile to preserve. Here at our homestead each year we can up large quantities of Applesauces, Apple Butter, Pie Filling and we dehydrate Apple Chips, too!
Applesauces are a pantry staple for my family and thankfully, it is very simple to make and can up, when you employ the use of your crockpot! Now there are as many ways to do this, based on your taste, as there are apple varieties! For us, it goes something like this:
We take our apples (any variety or a mixture, depending on your favorites!) and wash them. My grandmother always used Pink Ladies or Jonagolds–she was right, they make the most beautiful applesauce! We then peel them & slice off pieces (smaller sized chunks or thinner slices-no ‘half apple’ pieces here) of apple down to the core, right into the crockpot. Once we have our crockpots about 3/4 full or so, I turn them on low, add in about a cup of water, and a cup of sugar. Then put the lid on and let it cook for about 4-6 hours, checking it every hour (or a little more often-you do not want it sticking or burning–if it gets dry, just add a bit more water) and giving it a good stir. Once it has cooked down and is the consistency we want we prepare to water bath can it.
Now, that being said, you can certainly add in some other goodies to create a different flavor to your applesauce! We’ve done ours with cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar…I’ve even heard of folks adding a few ‘red hots’ candies to each jar! Some folks will sprinkle their apples with a tiny bit of lemon juice before putting the lid on the crockpot, some cut up their apples into a bowl of water and lemon juice to prevent browning; however it will brown up a bit when cooking in the crock nonetheless. Crockpot applesauce is extremely forgiving and simply adapts to the makers personal preferences, it’s a beautiful thing! When I do make a batch with cinnamon, I just sprinkle a bit in at a time and stir, until my taste-testers unanimously agree on the end result. However, I usually always put up my Grandmothers recipe, it is the family favorite!
You can eat your applesauce fresh, it will keep in the fridge for about 4-7 days. You can freeze it in tupperware, or freezer bags; whatever your preference is there. I prefer to can it, so I am not reliant on my freezer and we do put up quite a large amount of applesauce each year since everyone loves it, so that just makes sense for us.
I waterbath my pints for 20 minutes and my quarts for 25 minutes–check your Ball Blue book or County Extension office for times based on your elevation.
Putting up homemade applesauce is one of the easiest ways to preserve the harvest of the season, try it today–it is so simple, and so delicious; you will never buy store bought sauce again!
Another of my favorite ways to preserve all the beautiful apples we get in the Fall is Apple Pie Filling!
I love to have this super simple, yet very delicious pie filling on my pantry shelf! It’s easy to can up, and makes for effortless desserts all year long! Apple Pies, Crisps, Ice Cream Topping, Dump Cakes, etc., etc.–in minutes! Whats’ not to love?!
I can seasonally and in bulk, to stock the pantry shelves, teach my children the art of canning and have shelf stable (delicious) foods on hand, at the ready. This helps me utilize sales, and in season foods at the best in price and quality, for my family.
Apple Pie Filling
18 cups (of your favorite!) apples, peeled & sliced (about 6 lbs.)
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups brown sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
8 cups water
In a large bowl mix the apples together with the lemon juice to keep them from browning. Set aside. In a large pot combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for two minutes, it will start to thicken up.
Add your apples (you may want to drain off some of the lemon juice, I do but I know some folks think it adds a nice flavor) and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6-8 minutes.
Don’t forget to stir OFTEN–you don’t want this to burn!
Have your canner, quart jars and lids hot and ready. Pack each jar with the filling, leaving headspace, 1 inch from the top.
Process in your water bath canner for 20 minutes. Makes about 5 – 6 quarts! Carefully remove your jars from the canner. Set your jars on a towel, on the counter or a table for 24 hours–then line your pantry shelf!
Enjoy–you’ve just made it so simple for yourself to have a homemade dessert ready in minutes for your family, to take to a family in need, or that last minute congregation or family gathering!
Take advantage of what He gives us, in it’s proper season…it is truly a labor of love for me.
Enjoy the season,